Let's be honest, as a fan of the Sounders focused on the here and now, today sucked!
We simultaneously transferred away our all-time leading scorer in MLS for a price set months ago and probably less than he is currently worth, and we were out bid by a Serie A team for a solid midfielder who could have been the missing piece to an already good core of players heading into the 2014 season. It doesn't help that we probably netted zero allocation dollars on Fredy. What's worse, we are being alerted to the fact that the end of January each year going forward (as numerous transfer windows in leagues across Europe close) is probably going to suck when it comes to hanging on to our top players.
But as an optimist I like to focus on the silver linings, which I'll attempt to outline in part below. These aren't a complete list so feel free to add more in the comments, these just helped me see some of the upside on an otherwise rough day!
1) While we didn't get any allocation for Fredy Montero, we did get millions of real dollars, which contrary to MLS lore, actually can buy real things. By "we" I mean our team the Sounders and our league, Major League Soccer. While we all love to hate, or straight up just hate, the single entity MLS structure, let's not forget that in order for the Sounders to have the kind of success we want them to have, the league has to be successful as well. Potentially around $4 million dollars split between MLS and the Sounders is a good step towards that goal. That is money for a future transfer on the scale of Obafemi Martins, a huge down payment on a USL team, etc, etc, etc... Sure our salary cap this year isn't several hundred thousand dollars higher, but the Sounders goals as an organization also don't end this year either.
2) The Fredy transfer paves the way for future guys, and let's not forget - we have several of them. Osvaldo Alonso and DeAndre Yedlin are probably the most promising at this point when it comes to significantly profitable transfers out, and with any luck we have a couple more right behind them. Having an established relationship with Sporting and a successful significant transfer under our belt is a big step towards making future transfers even more successful. If Sporting has a successful transaction with Fredy, and consequently likes doing business with us, that is a good thing because business is all about products and relationships - and we have the products. In contrast, if the rumors are true about how Oba left Levante, they probably are unlikely to be future business partners, though it is not impossible. Let's also remember that Sporting's purchase of Fredy is very public and the Sounders are now on the radar of European teams looking for talent at a decent price.
3) Management learning some of the tough lessons about high profile international transfers with Fredy is a good thing because 1) we have to learn them at some point and 2) learning them on Fredy is not that bad. We have to be honest with ourselves that having Fredy here as long as we did at the salary he was at made it pretty unlikely that he was going to get the kindof money necessary to make an allocation windfall possible. Adrian was probably in a tough spot to get a decent deal done at the time the loan was made and several million dollars is definitely a decent outcome. Because we hung on to Fredy as long as we did and paid him as much as we did, our ability to get allocation was reduced, which won't be an issue to the same extent as future potential transfers for guys like Ozzie, Yedlin, and others. Lets also remember that when Adrian brought in Fredy, he didn't have a ton of experience with 1) MLS's crazy rules, 2) world class players and 3) major transfers to top clubs in Europe --- that just wasn't the world that he was operating in with the Sounders from 2002 to 2008. Hopefully he has learned a lessen about how to bring in young players, develop and shop them around, and draft contracts for loans with options to buy that hedge against the likelihood that the player will play at such a high level as to render the terms of the original loan undesirable. For example, hanging on to a percentage of a player's future transfers fees might be something the Sounders tack on to most if not all future loans and transfers as a result of this deal which is a good thing.
4) Fredy needs to be seen as part of a bigger trend that is good for MLS. Several people have pointed out that if Sporting flips Fredy for a big payday the Sounders and MLS will look foolish, which I agree has some truth to it. But it should also be pointed out that if a team in a top league pays tens of millions of dollars for Fredy, they will also look foolish by throwing millions of dollars at a middle man. Sure Fredy is having a great year so his price will be higher than it was last year, but Fredy's skills have been Fredy's skills for years and the European team that buys him will be paying a premium for being too lazy to fly over the Atlantic a couple times to watch him play. The sooner that top leagues in Europe wake up and realize that the growth of MLS is real, that Fredy isn't an anomoly, and that a few plane tickets are cheaper than tens of millions of dollars to a middle man in Portugal is the day multimillion dollar transfers out of MLS are a regular occurrence and not an exception.
5) The Sounders are competing with some of the top leagues in the world for players. Last year it was Oba and Levant in La Liga, this year it is Friberg and Bologna in Serie A. Sure we lost this one with Friberg but I'd be much more concerned if we weren't competing at all like many of the teams in MLS.
These are just a couple of the upsides I thought of today that might be overlooked and made being a Sounders fan today a little easier.