EDITOR'S NOTE: It's Friday and we could do with a little more discussion. Don't agree with all these estimations, but that's why it's a good conversation. - Jeremiah
The silly season is here! While taking a break from designing my customized Xavi in Rave Green jersey, I thought the following might be a good discussion topic: What are our players "worth" on the open market, and where are they most likely to go?
I think of this more as the price where we can't say no, as opposed to what we'd get in a MLB-style fire sale. Based on my headline reading and general knowledge of world football (i.e., London teams are in England), below are my first impressions. Are these figures way off? Too high or (even better) too low?
Top Assets $5-6M transfer fees:
Honey Badger & Fredy Montero: Clearly our two most valuable players to other teams, especially now that Ozzie is a U.S. citizen. Both are relatively young, play difficult-to-fill positions, and bring at least one elite-level skill to the table (Ozzie's ball-winning, Montero's vision and danger in the box).
These are also the two players we'd most like to hang on to, but Fredy has made clear his wishes to eventually ply his trade in Europe and at some point we have to accept he'll be moving on. Supposedly some Dutch teams had interest in him during our off-season, and he also seems like a good fit for France's Ligue 1. As for Alonso, now that his citizenship is taken care of, someone's going to want him. You'd think multiple mid-table teams in England or Spain would covet someone with his skill set.
Solid Asset $2-4M transfer fees:
Alvaro Fernandez: A player with World Cup experience, great on-ball skills and a reasonable contract. Even though he's underperformed this year, he's a great candidate to shine in a less physical league (there's been rumors of Italian teams interested in him). He may be a fish out of water in MLS, but we've all seen glimpses of superb playmaking from him. He's too good not to contribute if he finds the right fit.
He also seems to be the player most expected to leave. He's been a part of our success here, and it may well be time for him to move on to greener pastures and for the Sounders to bring in someone who fills a different role/style to the team.
Medium Asset $1-2M transfer fees:
Mauro Rosales & Eddie Johnson:This is more for winter than summer, but if EJ continues to improve and impress with finding the back of the net it seems someone in Europe will come calling again. For those who think he's a world-class talent, they'll want the Sounders to keep him around or at least hold out for a larger payday.
But for those who think he's an inconsistent head case there's a strong argument to sell high, like buying a sports car post-car crash, fixing it up and selling before the new brakes give out. I lean towards keeping him until next summer at least, but if some team desperate for forward help offers a seven figure fee, Adrian & co. have to consider it.
Mauro is only at this low amount due to his age and injury history. He's professed his love for Seattle, both the city itself and the opportunity he got here, not to mention being subsequently rewarded for his performance in the off-season. Still, it's not hard to envision an Italian, French or Dutch team hoping to making runs in multiple competitions viewing him as a depth/cup match contributor.
It's difficult to see a player give up the captain's armband onn a league contender to be a borderline 18 guy for a mid-table side, but then again I've never had my knees and ankles attacked with chainsaws for 90-180 minutes every week.
Small Assets <$1M transfer fees:
Brad Evans, Jeff Parke, Adam Johannsenn, John Kennedy Hurtado & David Estrada: These are more thought experiments than anything. Evans and to a lesser extent Parke are fringe USMNT guys, and Johannsenn is the same for Sweden. Pre-injury Hurtado might have been long gone at this point, but he may never be that player again. Estrada is a young player with elite speed (you can’t teach that), a nose for goal and fantastic work ethic.
Other than maybe Adam returning to Scandinavia or a Mexican team liking Estrada’s potential, I don’t see any of these guys being targeted. But all could at least be useful contributors to an English Championship league side, which is a step up from MLS in quality and presumably salary.
Unique Cases transfer fees ???:
Steve Zakuani: Another player who without an injury would quite likely already be gone, he would be in the same range as Montero and Alonso at full health, and maybe have the highest value of the three. Today I’m sure some Moneyball-thinking team would spend $1M to lock him up in case he recovers into the same level of player he was before.
Obviously we wouldn’t sell him for that rate. This could be another situation revisit in January or next summer, however.
Freddie Ljunberg’s rights: In case Big Brother UK doesn’t work out.
Thoughts? Am I way off base with these amounts?