Image: FC Dallas Twitter
FC Dallas announced today the contract extension of eighteen year old forward Ricardo Pepi. The new contract is set to last five years. (https://www.fcdallas.com/news/fc-dallas-homegrown-ricardo-pepi-signs-new-contract-with-fc-dallas)
Dallas did not release the financial details of his new deal but it can be assumed that he'll see a significant pay raise. The latest MLSPA salary report had Pepi's yearly pay at a base salary of $90,000 and guaranteed salary of $108,000. (https://www.bigdsoccer.com/2021/5/13/22434217/2021-fc-dallas-player-salaries-may-release)
Image: FC Dallas Twitter
Teammate Jesus Ferreira signed a four year contract extension in 2019 after a successful season that saw him lead Dallas in scoring with eight goals. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_FC_Dallas_season#Statistics)
His salary jumped from $70,250.04 in 2019 (https://3rddegree.net/3rd-degree-features/fcd-player-salaries)
to $550,000 in base pay. (https://3rddegree.net/mlspa-salary-guide-reveals-jara-pay-day)
Ferreira's contract extension came just a couple of week before his nineteen birthday, making Pepi the same age as him when earning the new deal. For more comparision, Pepi is currently Dallas' leading scorer with eight goals.
Pepi's new contract comes just days after he recorded his first hattrick in Major League Soccer (which now makes him the youngest player in league history with a hattrick), was announced as the "MLS Player of the Week", and a rumor that Serie A club Bologna began talks with FC Dallas in order to acquire the young striker.
FC Dallas extending Pepi's contract doesn't mean that Dallas will not sell him in the next few months. Former Dallas defender Reggie Cannon was offered a new contract just months before his move to Portguese club Boavista. Bryan Reynolds also signed a new four year deal with Dallas before his eventual transfer to A.S Roma.
The new contract is mostly likely an effort from Dallas to increase any incoming bids for Pepi. Reynolds earned Dallas their largest transfer fee. (https://www.fcdallas.com/news/fc-dallas-homegrown-bryan-reynolds-joins-roma) As a striker, many expect Dallas to earn more money from Pepi's transfer than they did with Reynolds, who made his impact as an attacking rightback.
The MLS Extra Time podcast has already begun the discussion on Pepi possibly breaking the MLS transfer record. Former Vancouver Whitecap player Alphonso Davies is the current holder of the record after his 2018 move to Bundesliga club Bayern Munich for $13.5 million (Vancouver could earn an additional $8.5 million). (https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/10-most-significant-outbound-transfers-major-league-soccer-history)
Video: Major League Soccer via YouTube
The discussion about Pepi is at the 30 minute mark in the video above.
Image: FC Dallas
The new contract should be good for both player and club. Both should be able to demand more when an offer comes in. It will be interesting situation to watch during this transfer window.
By Melanie G. Isbell