Sounders FC Transfer Speculation: Joan Verdu in? Fredy Montero out?
The next installment of Sounders FC speculation will be spotlighting that of the newest rumor being tossed around this past week of a Spanish midfielder joining Seattle. RCD Espanyol vice-captain, Joan Verdu, has had his name emerge as a Sounders transfer target. Most likely a possible winter transfer addition, this could be sped up to this current transfer window due to contract renewal negotiations stalling with his present club in Barcelona and that of Seattle selling one of its own designated players to make room for the Spanish talisman.
The Verdu rumor was first reported out of some outlets in Spain last week and intensified today with another report that the Sounders are refusing to back down in their pursuit of the talented midfielder. Although unconfirmed, salary numbers have been tossed around that would rival those of the top paid players in MLS. The 29-year-old could command upwards toward $6 million a season and equaling that of the likes of David Beckham and Thierry Henry. All this and considering his 1 year left on his contract with Espanyol, Seattle would have to shell out a hefty transfer fee. It would definitely turn out be one of the most highly lucrative transfers in MLS history.
Making room for an obvious designated player salary, the Sounders would need to shell out a current high priced player. Alvaro Fernandez has been the name most associated this transfer season, but it seems that Fredy Montero may be looking abroad as well, either this summer or upcoming winter. Montero’s former team, Deportivo Cali of Colombia, have flown representatives into Seattle to discuss business with the Sounders front office. These reports from today speak of the possibility of Montero returning to Colombia, but that would most likely involve Fredy taking a pay cut which wouldn’t make sense for a player that is entering his prime and most likely still has ambitions of playing in Europe some day. One can only speculate that they are here to explore a possible transfer abroad and want to see the financial terms of any possible offer. Deportivo Cali still holds a sell-on clause with Seattle. The percentage may not be known, but they would look to profit from a Montero transfer. Seattle owns his rights but a possible 30% is still entitled to Deportivo Cali. Those right as well could be bought out by the Sounders and also be the reason Deportivo’s reps are here for business.
Provided this is all speculation, let us pretend that Fredy Montero is sold off to Europe and Joan Verdu is brought in this summer. It would seem to be a smooth transition of introducing Verdu in almost the same role as Montero. Sigi’s arrow is more of a 4-4-2 with a withdrawn striker, with that being Montero. However, at times, depending on how far back Montero drops, the formation can take on a more 4-2-3-1 feel. That is the same formation that RCD Espanyol frequently plays and for which Verdu slots in as the attacking mid sitting behind a lone striker. Here is a best case healthy lineup of the Sounders playing a Christmas tree like formation.
Back to assessing Joan Verdu’s attributes that he could bring to the Sounders. Verdu is a product of the Barcelona B reserve team that has produced great players that played for the squad such as Xavi, Pedro, Carlos Puyol, Messi, Sergio Busquets, Pep Guardiola and Ivan de la Pena. The last name listed, Ivan de la Pena, is significant, due to him moving on to Espanyol in his career and becoming a legend for the club. His legacy ended due to injuries and subsequent retirement. He was replaced by Joan Verdu, who arrived from Deportivo de la Coruna. Verdu took over the playmaker role and thrived in it averaging 5 goals and 5 assists per year in La Liga since his inclusion into the team. A little more reference of Joan Verdu’s talents from my favorite attribute database website at pesstatsdatabase.com help reveal his incredible passing talents, distribution, and technique on the ball. He can play as a static playmaker, an attacking talisman and even hit a well time cross. He is a player that the Sounders would obviously covet and it is incredibly positive news to be associated with such a highly gifted player who is still at the peak of his career. It would be very welcoming to see the Sounders become a feeder club by bringing in great young talent (Montero) to develop and sell on to Europe and also subsequently be able to attract peak talent (Verdu) from Europe that isn’t tied down to national team commitments and is attracted to an American lifestyle.
The MLS summer silly season is in full swing and with 2 weeks left in the transfer window look for more speculation to come from abroad as the Sounders are always looking to improve the roster, whether it be for now or for further transfer windows out in the future.