The New York Red Bulls agreed to sell their All-Star left back Kemar Lawrence to Belgian club R.S.C. Anderlecht.
New York Red Bulls fans can’t say they didn’t see it coming. It was only a matter of time, and the time has now come for Kemar Lawrence.
RBNY agreed to sell the Jamaican to Belgian team R.S.C. Anderlecht for a transfer fee of approximately $1.25 million, according to The Athletic reporters Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal. Dylan Butler of Pro Soccer USA noted that New York will receive $1.1 million of the fee due to the fact that the MLS will take 25% of the total.
Lawrence still needs to acquire his visa paperwork and undergo a physical in order to finalize the move before the Belgian transfer window closes on Friday.
The fullback opened up about wanting to leave New York to MLS reporter Tom Bogert in December.
“Yes, I did make a trade request, I just don’t feel appreciated,” he explained. “I feel like it’s fair enough. It came to the point where my agent reached out and said, ‘Yo, Kemar needs a raise, but you’re not going to have a conversation about it?’”
The defender later added, “It always feels like we don’t want to pay somebody to keep them or get the right persons. Always trying to save some money or do something the cheaper way instead of investing in somebody and watching it turn over, you get me?
“I need to make a decision to go somewhere else,” Lawrence said. “There are teams willing to do that.”
Per MLSPA, Lawrence’s guaranteed salary was $382,750 per year as of Sept. 13, 2019. This isn’t quite the amount expected for one of the best, if not, the best left-back in the MLS.
When the Red Bulls started their preseason training on Jan. 19, the 27-year-old wasn’t there due to “a family situation,” per the club’s website. He was expected to return on Jan. 27.
Lawrence went to Jamaica and trained with his ex-club Harbour View F.C. He joined RBNY in camp thereafter.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) January 29, 2020
Later reports then stated that the team was in the process of selling him to Anderlecht.
Lawrence spent five seasons with the Metros, in which he won two MLS Supporters’ Shields, was a one-time MLS All-Star and a one-time Best XI selection.
New York did bring in players this offseason to replace Lawrence before his departure. The club signed John Tolkin, a promising teenage left-back from their second team, and drafted Patrick Seagrist, a player who plays the same position.