No, the Seattle Sounders are not at the top of the list of most expensive transfer fees paid. That honor lies with Atlanta United FC and teen phenom Ezequiel Barco. The rest of the top five are players that have performed at high levels in MLS — Miguel Almiron, Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe and Clint Dempsey (Dempsey’s fee was paid, at least in part, by the league).
But that’s the entire list of larger transfer fees paid than the one for Raúl Ruidíaz to come to Major League Soccer, as collected by Transfermarkt and converted to US dollars.
After the transfer window opens Seattle will have three of the top nine on the list. That puts the Sounders on some impressive footing, as they and the Los Angeles Galaxy are the only teams with four players in the Top 20. Atlanta, Los Angeles FC and the Portland Timbers are the only other teams with at least three players on that list.
André Horta and Ruidiaz have yet to appear in MLS matches. Barco is a teen on an expansion team. Of the remaining 17, only three could be considered failures while with their MLS sides — Jonathon dos Santos, Lucas Melano and Octavio Rivero. The rest of the big money players performed, collecting nine league trophies (Melano was on the roster for one of those).
This injection of talent comes at time when the Sounders are well below the red line and needing a third straight year with a second half run to appear in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Top 20 transfer fees paid in MLS history
|1||Ezequiel Barco||18||17/18||Atlanta United||$14,475,500|
|2||Miguel Almirón||22||16/17||Atlanta United||$8,842,500|
|3||Michael Bradley||26||13/14||Toronto FC||$8,724,600|
|4||Jermain Defoe||31||13/14||Toronto FC||$8,606,700|
|5||Clint Dempsey||30||13/14||Sounders FC*||$8,017,200|
|6||Raúl Ruidíaz||27||18/19||Sounders FC||$7,493,200|
|6||Giovani dos Santos||26||15/16||LA Galaxy||$7,493,200|
|8||André Horta||21||18/19||Los Angeles FC||$6,720,300|
|9||Nicolás Lodeiro||27||16/17||Sounders FC||$6,432,100|
|10||Carlos Vela||28||17/18||Los Angeles FC||$5,895,000|
|13||Josef Martínez||23||16/17||Atlanta United||$5,305,500|
|14||Jonathan dos Santos||27||17/18||LA Galaxy||$5,069,700|
|15||Robbie Keane||31||11/12||LA Galaxy||$4,427,800|
|16||Yura Movsisyan||29||16/17||Salt Lake||$3,537,000|
|16||Romain Alessandrini||27||16/17||LA Galaxy||$3,537,000|
|16||Nemanja Nikolics||29||16/17||Chicago Fire||$3,537,000|
|16||Obafemi Martins||28||12/13||Sounders FC||$3,537,000|