Geoff Cameron is officially a Stoke City player, finally. After drawn out negotiations between Stoke City and the Houston Dynamo and MLS, then having to wait as his work permit appeal hearing was delated, Cameron's UK work permit was finally approved on Wednesday, clearing the way for him to become an official Stoke City player.
It was vital for Cameron and Stoke that he finally get his work permit approved because the season is now just 10 days away. Cameron has been in Stoke and with the club since the deal was agreed to, but he couldn't officially join the club, relegating him to polo wearing, watching and clapping. Now he has 10 days to get back to full fitness and prepare for his first season in the English Premier League.
This deal also brings closure to the Dynamo, who needed the deal to go through so they could move forward. With Cameron sold, they can use the cap space that was freed up to sign another player. That player is expected to be Ricardo Clark, who has been released by Frankfurt and is available on a free to rejoin the club that he left in 2009.
Geoff Cameron's transfers from the Houston Dynamo to Stoke City is finally done, kind of. The two sides and MLS have all agreed to a deal that will see the 27-year-old join the Potters and now the only thing standing in the way of Cameron becoming a Stoke City player is his receiving a UK work permit, according to Jesus Ortiz.
Most believe that Cameron will get the work permit he needs to play in England. Because he had not played in 75% of the United States' matches over the last two years, he is not guaranteed a work permit and will instead have to appeal for one, but if recent history is any indicator, Cameron shouldn't have a problem getting one. Several Americans have won their appeals to get work permits of late and none had been as key a member of the U.S. team as Cameron has of late, making the bench or playing in seven of the Americans' eight matches in 2012.
It has not been an easy transfer process for all parties involved. Cameron let it be known that he would welcome a move to Stoke and Houston agreed to a deal with the English Premier League club pretty quickly, but because MLS owns the contracts of all players, they still had to sign off on the transfer. That part didn't go so easily, with Stoke and MLS spending more than a week trying to hammer out a deal, but now they have finally reached one for $2.5 million.
Cameron is expected to play as much, if not more in the midfield than at the back for Stoke. He has bounced back and forth between the midfield and defense since being drafted by the Dynamo so he is comfortable at both, but indications out of England are that Stoke prefers him in the midfield.
Stoke and the Dynamo agreed to a deal that would see Cameron move to England for just under $3 million, pending his getting a UK work permit as expected, but MLS has been hesitant to finalize the deal. Because of the single-entity nature of MLS, the league actually owns the contracts of all players so they have to agree to any sales and as of now, they have not agreed to the sale of Cameron, maybe.
If Cameron is sold at the agreed upon price, Houston will receive $1.8 million and the rest will go to the league. The Dynamo would be able to use up to $667,000 of that money as allocation on players. Yes, everything about MLS is confusing and weird, and this transfer saga just about sums it all up.
So has Cameron been sold yet? It depends if you believe Sciaretta or Ortiz.
While losing a player as good as Cameron is certain to have some immediate negative affects, it appears that everyone within in the Dynamo organization, from fans to the front office, support the move:
"The club is in favor of this transfer, and we are in support of it happening," Dynamo president Chris Canetti said. "We will continue to work with the league as they go through the process and make their decision."
The Dynamo won't lose Cameron empty-handed by any stretch of the imagination, though. Of the $2.7 million, the Dynamo would get $1.8 million, $667,000 of which can be used for allocation money. The remainder of the money can be spent on any number of "soccer-related expenses."
For more reaction and analysis to this possible move, be sure to check out Dynamo Theory.