UPDATE: ESPN is now reporting that the Whitecaps have a deal in place with Minnesota United to move up to the No. 1 spot in the Allocation Order, and are poised to sign Montero on a one-year loan with an option to buy.
Gross as it may be, there’s some pretty plausible-sounding rumors that Fredy Montero could return to MLS with one of the Seattle Sounders’ biggest rivals. Colombian paper El Heraldo is reporting that Montero is close to joining the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Although the story doesn’t explain how, exactly, this would happen, or cite any sources, it does quote Montero talking about his time with China’s Tianjin Teda as if it were over. His departure has seemed imminent for quite some time, though, as he currently lists himself as an “ex-Tianjin Teda” player on his Twitter bio and has shared photographs of himself in and around Seattle while his team was deep into preseason training.
In order to end up with the Whitecaps, Montero would still have to go through the Allocation Order. The Whitecaps currently hold the No. 5 position, and it seems at least possible that they’d need to trade up in order to sign the former Sounder, as the teams ahead of them would all seem at least passingly interested in a 29-year-old who’s already proven himself a very capable MLS scorer. Among his MLS successes are four goals and an assist in five career matches against the Whitecaps.
It would also stand to reason that Montero is only interested in returning to MLS if he can play for certain teams. He’s previously expressed a desire to return to the Sounders, but logistically that doesn’t seem very likely. The Whitecaps, while a rival, would check a lot of the same boxes. Montero would still be close to his family and adopted home in the Seattle area, be playing in a league he knows, and be in a position where he’s set up to succeed. While this might be a hard one to accept, it certainly passes the initial sniff test.