Just as Alvaro Fernandez was starting to round into form, reports suggest he's set to join Deportivo Cali on loan. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
UPDATE: Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid did his part to downplay the rumors on Tuesday, "I guess when you score a couple of goals the rumors start and the talks start. There’s nothing that I’m aware of right there. They're just rumors."
Ever since the Seattle Sounders started talking about being open to adding a Designated Player during this transfer window, speculation ran rampant about who might be moved in order to make room. If a report out of Colombia is to be believed, it appears that player is Alvaro Fernandez. The reports, which remain unconfirmed by official sources, suggest Fernandez would go to Colombia's Deportivo Cali on a one-year loan.
When asked for comment, Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer offered this: "Lots of rumors swirling around. I can hardly keep them straight. We will report something, when we have something substantive to report."
That's hardly confirmation of anything, but it certainly isn't a denial either. Putting on our speculation hat, it seems fair to assume that there has at least been some discussion about a possible move. Taking it a step further, it seems highly unlikely that the Sounders would agree to lose Fernandez without having his replacement all sewn up.
That leads me to believe that the Sounders are waiting to see if they can finalize a deal to bring in another DP, most likely one of either Christian Tiffert or Joan Verdu. Of these two, Tiffert seems to be the far more likely option as Kaiserslautern seems perfectly amendable to letting him go for a nominal transfer fee.
Verdu seems to offer the higher potential upside, as he's a 29-year-old vice-captain of a mid-table La Liga team. Despite various reports that give the impression the Sounders have been aggressive about pursuing him, none seem to suggest he's particularly interested in moving to MLS.
As for the plausibility of the loan itself, there's some reason to think it's not just wild rumor. If it really is a loan, the Sounders would retain ownership of Fernandez while opening up a DP spot. It would seem unlikely that Fernandez would ever return to the Sounders in this case, but it would bide some time to potentially sell him at a more fair price.
Losing Fernandez now would certainly be unfortunate, as he's starting to show the form that made him one of the better goal-scorers in the league last year. But he has been slow to adapt to MLS and maybe heading back to South America would be good for him.