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Inter Miami finalizing deal to transfer Gregore to Botafogo in roster compliance bid

Inter Miami is finalizing a deal to transfer midfielder Gregore to Brazilian club Botafogo, sources briefed on the deal tell The Athletic. Globo first reported the move. The Brazilian outlet also reported that the fee is around $2.8 million.

Gregore was not in the matchday squad for Miami on Thursday against Newell’s.

The deal comes after The Athletic reported Inter Miami needed to shed salary and/or add allocation money to be cap compliant before roster compliance day on Tuesday.

“Based on very recent conversations with (Miami) in the last 24 hours, they will be compliant and are currently looking at what they need to do to make sure they will be so at the start of the season,” MLS executive vice president Todd Durbin told media earlier on Thursday.

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In addition to removing Gregore’s significant budget charge from its salary cap, Miami can convert part of the transfer fee into allocation money, a boon for its cap health. Gregore was a designated player last season, meaning he hit the cap at a fixed figure. Miami can place another player under that designation, rather than needing allocation money to buy down another player. Miami still has its one-time contract buyout, which allows them to remove one player from the salary cap if need be.

The pending departure of Gregore takes away from the club’s on-field quality, a necessary trade-off in a salary-capped league like MLS. Gregore has been a key player since joining the club in 2021. He was the club’s captain prior to Lionel Messi joining last summer and was one of the league’s better defensive midfielders. He made 67 appearances for Miami since joining, missing most of 2023 with an injury.

MLS has not announced specific roster rules and regulations for 2024, but in 2023, the salary budget was a base of $5.21 million for the senior roster. It’s “base” because designated players hit the cap at the senior max budget charge (last year was $651,000) no matter what they get paid, or less for young DPs. That budget is set to rise by a fixed amount laid out in the league’s CBA with its players.

Allocation money — GAM and TAM — is given to every team every year to “buy down” contracts, like an extension of the salary cap. This is integral to having players who make over the max budget charge. In 2023, Miami had 10 players over the max budget charge. Three were DPs — Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gregore. Including Gregore, three have left (Josef Martinez and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez were the others). Salary budget charges include transfer fees paid, so others may need to be bought down as well.

The exact number of how much allocation money Miami (or any other club) needs is not public, and the public also doesn’t know exactly how much allocation money they had left over from previous years (or borrowed ahead from the future).

Miami has a glut of central midfielders, led by Busquets, Julian Gressel, Diego Gomez, Jean Mota, Ben Cremaschi and David Ruiz all remain on the roster, while the team is finalizing a deal to sign highly-rated Argentine youth international Federico Redondo from Argentinos Juniors.

(Photo: Victor Fraile, USA TODAY Sports)


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