Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
The Sounders clearly have room to improve, but they still look pretty strong even without Montero.
At this point, Fredy Montero's loan to Millonarios is all but a foregone conclusion. All indications are that an official announcement could come as soon as next week. The exact terms of the deal are still a bit of a mystery, but we can assume that Montero won't be playing for the Sounders in 2013 (although he could be back after that).
With that understood, now seems like a good time to assess how the Sounders are looking elsewhere on the pitch.
How the Sounders are shaping up
Even without Montero, the Sounders would still have one of the more talented offensive units in the league if the season started tomorrow. Eddie Johnson would probably start alongside Mario Martinez at forward; Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani appear to be the starters on the wing; and Christian Tiffert and Osvaldo Alonso appear to be the starters in the middle. That's not even mentioning Brad Evans, who is coming off arguably his best offensive season. The Sounders are still planning to add some talent, as well.
Based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations, the Sounders should be cap compliant once allocation dollars are factored in. They probably need to rid themselves of another $200,000 in salary if they are to add a DP, though, which doesn't bode well for someone like Adam Johansson. Transferring Rosales and picking up some allocation dollars would also work.
Now, let's look at some of the rumors:
Mauro Rosales to Union Espanola (Chile): I've heard very little that would lead me to believe that this particular rumor has legs, but the general idea seems sound. Rosales has been open about his desire to finish his career in his native Argentina and he's only signed for one more year in Seattle. If the Sounders can wrangle some transfer fee by letting him leave a year early, that's probably not the worst thing in the world. Chances of return: 50 percent
Osvaldo Alonso to West Ham United: The latest reports say that he's back in the United States. I don't think the Sounders were ever really looking to move him, so they are probably more than happy that the Hammers weren't interested in making a serious bid. Chances of return: 80 percent.
Mario Martinez to somewhere else: There has not been a single reputable report suggesting that he's going anywhere, but Martinez himself seems to enjoy driving the rumor mill. The latest was a cryptic tweet about possibly going to Turkey, which he later revealed was something his agent asked him about. The reality is that the Sounders have him under their control until at least June, when they'll have the right to make the transfer permanent. Until someone makes the Sounders an offer they can't refuse, he'll be back. Chances of return: 95 percent.
Joan Verdu: It's probably time to get over this one. All indications are that he's set to join Athletico Madrid. Good for him. Chances he'll be a Sounder: .00001 percent
Christoph Metzelder: The links have been very tenuous. Basically they come down to this: He's a German defender who wants to come to MLS and the Sounders seem to like Germans. At the right price, he makes sense but I have no reason to believe the Sounders are trying to make this happen. Chances he'll be a Sounder: 10 percent.
Wilmer Crisanto: This looks to be a done deal. An announcement could be coming soon. Chances he'll be a Sounder: 99 percent.
Jose Velasquez Colon: One of Crisanto's teammates on Victoria appears set to join him in Seattle as well. This one seems to be more of a trial, though. Chances he'll be a Sounder: 50 percent.