We have reached the time of year when players around the world are linked to one team or another in transfer rumors that range from the probable to the highly unlikely.
Over the course of Seattle’s first five years, Fredy Montero has been at the center of such rumors without fail and now, even while he is out on loan to Millonarios FC in Colombia, the club is again left to answer questions about reports linking Montero to yet another club in Europe.
The difference this time is that Sounders FC is in negotiations with the club in question – Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer confirmed as much on Thursday when he met with the media following Sounders FC training at Starfire Sports.
“I will confirm it’s not a rumor,” he said. “So I guess one of the very rare cases of being asked about various transfers over five years, this one is not a rumor. But nothing is done. We’ll obviously announce something if and when it happens.”
Montero, 25, is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 47 goals and 34 assists in 119 MLS matches, and 60 goals and 43 assists in 160 matches across all competitions. He scored the club’s first-ever goals in MLS in their inaugural match on March 19, 2009, in a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, then was the first to score in CONCACAF Champions League play on July 28, 2010, in a 1-0 win over Metapan from El Salvador.
Though currently on Seattle’s official roster, he has been on loan to Millonarios in his native Colombia all season, giving him the chance to play in the prestigious Copa Libertadores tournament in addition to the club’s league schedule.
What the move means to Sounders FC in 2013 is still unclear. His situation as a Designated Player out on loan during the MLS season is as yet unchartered territory within the parameters of the league’s salary budget.
Although details of any agreement are not yet finalized, Hanauer did concede that any permanent transaction involving Montero is one that is done with some emotion involved.
“For me, it’s a bit sentimental. Chris Henderson and I spent a lot of time in Colombia. He was a kid when he got here. On the field, I’m not sure you’d ever say he was a kid because as soon as he got here he was influential,” Hanauer said, while also leaving the door open for a possible return later in Montero’s career. “I guess I’m proud that he was a big part of the franchise and that he developed into a really good young man while he was here, because we want to win soccer games, develop soccer players and develop good young men, which is why the door is always open.”
If, for whatever reason, a transfer does not occur, Montero would continue his loan with Millonarios when they return to play in late July.