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Sounders should ignore the Justin Meram sweepstakes

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The Crew midfielder is available for a significant price, but Seattle should probably spend their TAM to extend their championship window.

Gallery Photo: Sounders v Columbus: Photos Jane G Photography for Sounder at Heart

A couple Columbus Crew SC players are likely to go on the move. Ola Kamara seems destined for the LA Galaxy and a massive raise, while Justin Meram is looking to contend for trophies outside of Ohio. Over the past few years Meram offers much of what the Seattle Sounders are looking for this season, but at a high cost in trade.

“Both Ola and Justin play an important role in our competitive ambitions for 2018. However, every club must evaluate opportunities to strengthen their roster and heighten their player’s professional development. Any offer for Justin or Ola would have to significantly benefit the club considering they are two of the most productive offensive players in the league and have multiple years remaining on their contracts with Crew SC,” Berhalter said.

The sources said that Columbus, who used Targeted Allocation Money to re-sign Meram last year, are looking for a package similar to the $1 million in guaranteed allocation money that Atlanta traded Portland for Darlington Nagbe earlier this offseason in exchange for Meram.

That’s a hell of a price (and the Timbers may actually be the leading team right now), but Meram’s four years as a regular starter are good enough that he would be in the top four Sounders attackers from 2014 to the present. For a team that is looking to shore up its attack in a year when they lost their dynamic left back and don’t yet know if Jordan Morris can repeat his freshman season (or exceed it) Meram makes sense. But, it probably means losing a TAM level player, or maybe two, during the primary transfer window.

Sounders top 6 attackers from ‘14 to ‘17, plus Justin Meram

Player Year Goals Assists Minutes G+A/90
Player Year Goals Assists Minutes G+A/90
Dempsey 14 15 10 2132 1.06
Martins 15 15 6 1805 1.05
Martins 14 17 13 2600 1.04
Dempsey 15 10 10 1742 1.03
Lodeiro 16 4 8 1170 0.92
Barrett 14 7 1 867 0.83
Neagle 14 9 9 2248 0.72
Meram 17 13 7 2588 0.70
Dempsey 17 12 5 2276 0.67
Meram 14 8 4 1683 0.64
Bruin 17 11 2 1824 0.64
Dempsey 16 8 2 1429 0.63
Barrett 15 5 0 715 0.63
Meram 16 5 13 2605 0.62
Lodeiro 17 7 12 2965 0.58
Pappa 15 3 6 1468 0.55
Ivanschitz 16 3 8 1910 0.52
Pappa 14 6 5 1931 0.51
Morris 16 12 4 2856 0.50
Meram 15 6 5 2230 0.44
Jones 17 1 11 2451 0.44
Pineda 14 3 7 2233 0.40
Roldan 17 6 6 2960 0.36
Neagle 15 4 2 2028 0.27
Roldan 16 4 3 2632 0.24
Alonso 16 3 4 2826 0.22
Morris 17 3 1 1801 0.20
Mears 15 1 3 2960 0.12
Selecting the top 6 performers from the last four Sounders seasons, as well as Justin Meram. In some hears the sixth best offensive performer wasn’t that good. MLSSoccer.com

With the Sounders starting their CCL run on Feb. 22, and league play less than two weeks later, adding talent that is capable of performing is important, though not vital. Since Kelvin Leerdam joined the team they were an impressive 12-3-6 +20 with only Toronto FC outperforming the Rave Green. They beat playoff teams San Jose, KC, Vancouver (three times), and Houston (also twice).

We are left with a final, bitter taste due to the loss to TFC in MLS Cup. The attack petered out, after being good in the second half of the year. Meram would add some spice back to the diet.

His numbers are good. He is respected throughout the league. But adding Meram, it pains me to say, doesn’t make sense.

The trade would consume most of Seattle’s tradable versions of Allocation Money, one of Bruin or Shipp, and likely one of Fisher or Alfaro. It would be a blockbuster.

He would amplify Seattle’s chance of winning in 2018, and maybe 2019. He fits right in the age of players like Lodeiro, Rodriguez, Bruin, Leerdam.

Unless Garth Lagerwey knows he will be adding a Young DP to extend the championship window, or he decides to go all in over the next two seasons, players at Meram’s age and price don’t make sense.