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With Rual Ruidiaz signing Sounders again flex financial muscle

Only two teams have four players in the top 20 transfer fees paid in MLS history — Seattle and the LA Galaxy

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

No. Player Age Season To Transfer fee
No. Player Age Season To Transfer fee
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
11 Sebastián Blanco 28 16/17 Timbers $5,423,400
11 Lucas Melano 22 15/16 Timbers $5,423,400
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 Octavio Rivero 22 14/15 Vancouver $3,537,000
16 Obafemi Martins 28 12/13 Sounders FC $3,537,000
- source Transfermarkt

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