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Sounders complete signings of Emanuel Cecchini, Luis Silva

Cecchini comes to Sounders on loan, while Silva returns to MLS from Finland.


It’s not the high-priced Designated Player many had been pining for, but the Seattle Sounders made a significant signing just before the summer transfer window closed on Wednesday night. Emanuel Cecchini was officially added to the roster on a loan from Spanish second division side Malaga CF. Former Real Salt Lake midfielder Luis Silva was also added.

“We are pleased to add a pair of quality players to our roster as the window closes this summer. Emanuel gives us a good, versatile option in the midfield, while Luis provides us another option and some good depth in the attack,” Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a press release. “Combined with our other signings this season, we feel confident in our position to make a strong run as we approach the final third of the season and playoffs.”

Various reports suggested the Sounders will pay about $150,000 in loan fees, assume Cecchini’s full salary of about $1 million and have the option to make a full transfer at the end of next season for $2 million. In the meantime, the Sounders will use Targeted Allocation Money to pay down his cap hit. There was no information immediately available as to how they were able to add Cecchini without an available international roster spot, which may need to be worked out before he can play for the team.

Despite being reasonably well traveled, Cecchini is still just 22 and has played in some of the best leagues in the world. His best performances have come in Argentina in two different stints with Banfield. As a 20-year-old, he had four goals playing mostly as a No. 8 and helped Banfield finish fifth in the Argentine Premier League. That paved the way for a transfer to Malaga, who reportedly paid about $5 million for his rights.

Cecchini made just two league appearances in Spain before being loaned to Liga MX’s Leon where he made just one appearance.

Last year, he was loaned back to Banfield. After a bit of a slow start, he eventually assumed the starting role as a No. 6 as Banfield went 2-2-3 down the stretch.

Cecchini will likely compete for minutes as a No. 6, especially with Gustav Svensson dealing with an apparent injury.

The addition of Silva was considerably more of a surprise, but also doesn’t seem to address any particular need. The 30-year-old comes to the Sounders after having his option turned down by Real Salt Lake following the 2018 season. The eight-year MLS veteran had spent the first part of 2019 in Finland with Honka, where he scored three goals in 13 appearances. The former No. 4 overall SuperDraft pick has 32 MLS goals, including 12 during his last two seasons with RSL, but it’s hard to see how he’s an obvious upgrade to any of the Sounders’ immediate needs.

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