It would appear that reports of Alvaro Fernandez's imminent departure may have been a bit premature. While the rumor wire was all abuzz over Fernandez joining Colombian side Deportivo Cali last week, El Pais is now reporting that the deal has fallen through.
It's not entirely clear why this happened, but it does seem to indicate that Fernandez will at least be finishing out the MLS season with the Sounders. Based on Fernandez's recent form, this doesn't seem to be the worst thing in the world. The only real potential downside would be that this likely spells the immediate end of the Sounders' chasing another Designated Player, which for all we know is the actual reason the deal fell through in the first place.
Let's focus on this from the perspective of keeping Fernandez, though. Getting rid of him now would have seemed to be awful timing. While it's easy enough to argue that as long as he's one of three Designated Players on the roster, he's not a great value, there's no guarantee that his replacement would be any better in the short term.
When Fernandez is playing at his best, the way he has been the past couple of weeks, he's capable of being a game-changing talent. He's both a talented finisher and creator, something we don't see much of in wide midfielders around MLS.
The problem is that we haven't gotten to see enough of it this season. Whether it's the fault of injury, motivation or something else, Fernandez has sometimes lapsed into a significantly less effective version of himself. He hasn't always done a great job of holding onto the ball, until recently he wasn't getting into dangerous scoring positions and when he did get good looks, he tended to miss.
If the Alvaro Fernandez that we've seen over the last month or so is the one the Sounders will have, though, that could be just as good, if not better, than a new transfer.