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Rumored Sounders target is almost certainly leaving Sevilla

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Hiroshi Kiyotake’s exit is all but confirmed after the signing of Walter Montoya.

Japan v Saudi Arabia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

Hiroshi Kiyotake is all but finished at Sevilla. The Japanese midfielder was already rumored to be on his way out — primarily because he has failed to break into third-best team in Spain’s lineup — but now his fate is all but assured after the signing of Walter Montoya as Sevilla will need to clear a non-EU roster spot.

Kiyotake is believed to be the most likely player to leave, in part because he apparently has several options. One of those options is reportedly from MLS, and even has a contract offer on the table. The Seattle Sounders have been the only MLS team linked to Kiyotake and GM Garth Lagerwey even spoke about trying to sign the 27-year-old last year.

Lagerwey has more recently suggested he’s inclined to wait until the summer transfer window to make a signing, in part because the team will have a much better idea about Clint Dempsey’s long term health by then. Doing this would also have the added benefit of saving a healthy chunk of allocation money, as the Sounders wouldn’t need to buy down Osvaldo Alonso’s contract until they brought in another DP level player.

While that may be Lagerwey’s preference, it’s entirely possible this is the Sounders’ best chance to get Kiyotake. Based on their pursuit of Nicolas Lodeiro, we know they’re willing to change course to get a player if they’re certain he’s the one they want. Of course, we don’t know that they feel the same way about Kiyotake that they did about Lodeiro, but he sure does tick off a lot of the boxes the Sounders want. Kiyotake is in the middle of his athletic prime, has good speed, international pedigree, and is equally adept at both playmaker and scorer.

The one thing that suggests he might not quite be the dream signing the Sounders are after is that his best years have mostly come playing as a No. 10. Kiyotake does have a fair amount of experience playing throughout the midfield attacking band, but he appears most comfortable in the spot that would presumably be filled by Dempsey.

Whether or not that’s enough reason for the Sounders to miss out on a player who could be very good for quite a few more years obviously remains to be seen. Either way, this will likely be resolved by the time the Spanish transfer window closes on Feb. 2.