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Major League Soccer: Ola Kamara (45′) Columbus Crew SC 1-0 LA Galaxy
Ola Kamara discusses the impact of Columbus’ fans and what Crew SC need to do to finish off New York City FC.

ORLANDO — The fate of Columbus Crew SC striker Ola Kamara remains very much up in the air with interest coming from both inside and outside MLS, multiple sources have told ESPN FC.

At one stage the Colorado Rapids appeared to be the front-runner to land Kamara, with one source saying a deal with Columbus was close to being completed.

But multiple sources have now said Kamara prefers to be in a larger, coastal MLS city. So while Colorado isn’t completely out of the running, the Rapids are exploring other, European targets.

For Columbus manager Gregg Berhalter, Kamara’s preferences have served to limit his options. But he has been adamant that while he’s willing to try and accommodate Kamara as well as want-away midfielder Justin Meram, he’ll only do so after receiving what he feels is the proper value for the forward.

“Normally, we’re a club that makes decisions in a player-first way. All of our filters are geared towards what’s best for the player,” Berhalter said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC.

“In this situation, it’s not much different except that these are two high performers, and we have to get the value that we expect if something would be done. If that doesn’t happen we’re not going to do a deal. For us it’s pretty straightforward.”

Ola Kamara
Ola Kamara prefers to move to a coastal MLS club, sources say.

Columbus acquired Kamara just prior to the 2016 season, and the Norway international has been prolific since then, scoring 35 goals in 64 league and playoff appearances.

“He’s come in and done a great job,” Berhalter said of Kamara. “If we can get great value for him, we’re not going to come in and say that’s something we’re not interested in at all. Of course. But we’re also very happy with Ola, happy with his production, and very happy with the type of guy he is and the way he fits into the team. So all of that is good.”

Berhalter confirmed there have been offers from abroad, but said there was “nothing really substantial. There’s a lot of feeler offers.”

Kamara’s preference in terms of city would appear to bode well for the LA Galaxy, who after shoring up their defense and midfield during the offseason really have one more whole to fill, that of a forward.

“We’re looking right now at about three or four guys,” said Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid.

Schmid added that Udinese striker Rodrigo Aguirre is “a player we’ve seen in person.” As for Kamara, Schmid was circumspect, indicating that the striker is someone who “if the situation is right we could have an interest in. I think there’s other teams in the hunt there as well.”

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.


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