Osvaldo Alonso recently suggested some Premiership teams might be interested in acquiring his services. Unsurprisingly, being as he is a professional soccer player, he is open to this possibility. None of this should really come as news.
The question is: How much concern should this cause us as Seattle Sounders fans, who clearly want our team to have as many highly talented players as is possible? That entirely depends on how much faith you put in our front office and ownership.
Let's start with a few assumptions for the sake of argument:
- If a team is interested enough in Alonso, the potential legal hurdles are not so big as to make him unattractive
- There exists a price at which the Sounders would be wiling to sell Alonso
- The league is not going to force the Sounders to sell Alonso, as there are virtually no examples of a player being sold against his team's wishes
Given these assumptions, Sounders fans are left to answer some questions that should dictate how uncomfortable this situation makes you feel:
- Do you think the Sounders would sell Alonso without getting a significant transfer fee in return? I'm sure there are those of you who see the Erik Friberg and Miguel Montano situations and start wondering if our FO is not too nice for its own good. I assure you, they are not. In both cases, the Sounders got something they needed. In the case of Montano, it was roster flexibility in order to acquire Sammy Ochoa. In Friberg's case, it was a transfer fee that essentially meant they got Friberg's services for free. There's just no way the Sounders are going to let him go just because he wants to play in Europe. I'd expect a transfer free of at least $3 million, maybe more.
- Do you think the Sounders would let that money go to waste? This is a team that has made numerous clever moves during their brief time in MLS. Admittedly, they have yet to acquire a high-profile star in his prime, but there's no reason to think that they are just hoarding profits. Based on what I know of this group, I fully expect them to take whatever money they get from a prospective Alonso sale and put that right back into soccer talent.
- Do you think the Sounders are already looking for backup options? Obviously, we know what we have in Alonso and like what we see. But we're crazy to think that he's entirely irreplaceable. Somewhere, there's a player that can fill his shoes. I'm sure the Sounders are already looking for that player. More than any other MLS team, I trust the Sounders to find that player.
Of all the issues, the final one is easily the one I expect most Sounders fans to struggle with. Plucking Alonso out of the third division must seem like an absolute stroke of luck. It wasn't. Obviously, finding talent is not a science, and the Sounders have not been perfect in this category.
But we like to think of the Sounders as class organization, maybe even a world-class one. Well, losing good players is part of the deal. Even the best teams in the world need to replace great players. Hopefully, Alonso will just be the first of many great Sounders to garner interest from overseas. We should never like losing great players, but we need to at least get used to the best teams in the world sniffing around like hungry wolves. When they stop, you'll know something has really gone wrong.