With MLS considering creative budgeting techniques to get around the fact that the salary cap really did not budge with the new CBA, let's take a look at which players are available on "frees" this summer. While we know the Sounders are willing to spend millions of transfer fees, any player you can get on a free is money you can spend elsewhere; that and most of the league will not try to spend about 3.5 million on a player.
The MLS Summer, aka "Secondary", Transfer Window opens July 8th and closes August 6th.
Some of England's top frees are already spoken for with Steven Gerrard going to LA, Frank Lampard to NYCFC (at one point), and Tom Cleverly to Everton. Here's a few, of the many Premier League frees, that would be fun to see in Rave Green.
1. Ron Vlaar- Brad Evans has been a pretty good CB overall but we have no depth. Vlaar would definitely be a starter on this squad and there is not a single defender right now I would want to bench but I'll take that problem. Vlaar is coming off a fairly injury heavy season at Aston Villa but he's captained the squad and is a national team starter for the Dutch.
2. Youssuf Mulumbu- The French-Congolese midfielder has spent time with PSG and for the past six years has been a lock for West Brom. Mulumbu is a defensive mid and is strong, physical tackler. He is a fairly serviceable passer in the midfield but he is really just there to tackle, mark, and intercept passes.
3. Ryo Miyaichi- The Japanese winger was not retained by Arsenal and could be a spark-plug off the wing for the Sounders. Miyaichi plays with great pace. He is not the best crosser but like Steve Zakuani in the early years, he can use speed and dribbling moves to get in behind, beat the fullback, and then shoot or pass in the box. He's never been used much or caught on anywhere he's been loaned. He could easily be a "core DP", that 4-9 spot, or possibly under that level without changes.
Who else do you want from England?
Liga MX with its split season has contracts that expire after the Apertura and Clausura, some players expire June 30th, some December 31st. Combine this with Liga MX owners supposedly colluding to make player movement even worse than the MLS rules and you'll find most "free" players can't leave and those who can are not easy to find publicly, but thanks to Transfermarkt we have a few to look at.
1. Jorge Torres- The Tigres left back is the best player who's contract is expiring in June. Not a position we necessarily need, I'm currently in love with Dylan Remick, Leo is a great backup, and Andres Correa has a nice future but free players only cost a roster spot, right? If the Sounders know something we don't, like retirement possibilities of Leo, Jorge Torres could be a good player to bring in to compete with Dylan Remick. He's only 27 and is a strong enough attacking option.
2. Christian Gimenez- Gimenez is old. The 34 year old spent the last five years with Cruz Azul. He turned 34 back in February and played almost every match this season for Cruz Azul. While he is not the attacking threat he used to be, he can still play as a CAM or a winger, how Sigi likes 'em, and managed 5 goals and 1 assist in 32 appearances this year. He could be a good attacking veteran off the bench, but likely not needed with Tommy Jaguar.
Transfermarkt is the source again because only the Premier League complies the data for their league.
Only one major player that has not already announced that they'll be signing elsewhere. There are plenty of youth players that would be interesting but they are all unknowns at this point.
Carlos Zambrano- The Peruvian centerback and not the oft-aggressive former Chicago Cubs pitcher. His contract expired and Liverpool, AC Milan, Inter, and Lazio all were vying for his signature earlier this year but he never signed. He's also turned down Liverpool the last few years, opting to stay in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt. He's 25, almost 26, year old CB is pretty good in the air and is strong, but is not going to improve the lack of speed in the middle of our backline. A lot like Vlaar at 26, but like Vlaar it is a question what do we do with the current players on the backline.
Rest of the World
Kevin Prince-Boateng, who was suspended by Schalke and will likely leave on a free, is still an option for MLS sides, though not one that would help the Sounders. Andre Ayew, just was pulled off the market by signing with Swansea.
Juan Vargas and Christopher Samba, of Fiorentina and Dinamo Moscow respectively, we discussed a few weeks ago and are still possible options with their contracts still up in the air.
MLS appears to be ready improve the quality of the league another step, the question is not if but when will it be announced. The Sounders appear to be ready to make a move during the "secondary" window but who will it be? Who do you want on a free?