Sporting KC sign Besler, Zusi as DPs

Sporting Kansas City have signed U.S. internationals Matt Besler and Graham Zusi to multi-year designated player contracts, the club announced on Saturday.

The contracts will be guaranteed and will run through the 2018 season, Sporting CEO Robb Heineman said, though the club declined to disclose the financial terms of either deal.

Besler had been the subject of much transfer speculation since returning from a strong World Cup at the heart of the Americans' defense. The 27-year-old, drafted in the first round by Sporting in 2009, had been rumored to have been a target of Sunderland and reportedly was the subject of a bid from Championship side Fulham.

"This is a dream come to true to know that I'll be playing my whole career in Kansas City," Besler said. "A lot of factors went into this decision, but the ownership and the great fans played a huge part."

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Heineman had said earlier this summer that Zusi had generated interest from clubs around the world, but the 27-year-old opted to remain with the club that drafted him -- 15 picks after Besler was selected.

"This is where I have always wanted to be," Zusi said. "I have always respected players who have played their entire career with one team and I look forward to a long career in Kansas City."

Sporting Kansas City sit tenuously atop Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference, just a point ahead of D.C. United, who have a game in hand. Securing the long-term futures of Besler and Zusi was instrumental to the club continuing their chase for a second consecutive MLS Cup, Sporting manager Peter Vermes said.

"Getting these deals completed is extremely beneficial for the organization and the two players," Vermes said. "Graham and Matt have both proven over the past almost six seasons that they are core players within this club. They have had a tremendous impact on creating a winning culture and these agreements keep us on the path of attaining our goals and expectations."