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Ship’s Log, July 6: Talking through transfer rumors

Trying to make sense of the transfer rumors currently floating around the Sounders.

Last Updated
7 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Dave Clark is off having a life, which leaves today’s Ship’s Log in my hands. As the sort of de facto resident specialist when it comes to wild speculation about possible transfer targets for the Seattle Sounders, it seems somewhat appropriate that I speak a little bit on some of the reports and rumors about outbound moves for the club.

Starting with the most likely to come to fruition, after Jeremiah Oshan reported on this site that Obed Vargas was drawing serious interest from Liga MX clubs word came out that CF Monterrey has made an offer for the midfielder. That particular report put the initial offer at around $2.5 million, although Jeremiah has said that number was off, and even still it would take a bit of a step up to make a move happen.

One way or another whether it’s this window or the next, or to Mexico or somewhere in Europe, Vargas probably isn’t going to be playing for the Sounders for too much longer. The young player who has long been touted as a likely candidate for a sizable transfer out, and a possible future on a larger stage. With his recent switch to become eligible for El Tri and a chance to appear for Mexico at the next World Cup before his 21st birthday, Vargas has set the stage for an even larger breakout than the ones he’s already enjoyed in Seattle. The question that remains to be answered is just how big this first transfer will be. Estimates put a likely price tag between $4 and $8 million, and there’s plenty of reason to think that someone will meet that and feel confident in the potential to make back their money and then some.

The next most likely rumor to become reality is a move back to Brazil for Léo Chú. During preseason Brazilian club Fluminense made an offer worth around $4 million for the winger, but couldn’t quite reach the number the Sounders were looking for. From Seattle’s side, while that money would have filled the transfer coffers a bit and given the team some increased ability to go back out and spend on a new transfer, it wouldn’t have been enough to generate any General Allocation Money and the added cap and salary flexibility that comes with it. The calculation looked a little different then than it does now.

Léo Chú was coming off of a career season, with career marks in games (39 all comps), minutes (2,462 all comps), and goal contributions (5 goals, 9 assists all comps). Transferring him in the winter would have meant needing to find not only a replacement for his roster spot (a U22 spot), but also what had become somewhat reliable production with the chance that he could take another step forward in 2024.

Limited by injuries, about two-thirds of the way through the season Chú has played just over a quarter of the minutes he played last season and has seen his production drop a little bit going from 0.56 goal contributions (goals+assists) per 90 minutes to about 0.50 goal contributions/90 this year. Add to that the emergence of Paul Rothrock as both an actual contributor on the stat sheet and an immaculate vibe, as well as Pedro de la Vega building back into the team and gradually taking up minutes, and Chú’s U22 spot’s ability to bring in some new blood with serious upside along with the ability to spend on a transfer fee if he’s sold, and accepting something in that $4 million range makes a lot more sense for the club this Summer. Club Athletico Paranaense are reportedly interested, and a quick search on Twitter will inform you that Fluminense fans still think there’s at least a chance the team comes back in with an offer.

Lastly, and least likely, is the seemingly ever-present rumor that Raúl Ruidíaz is this close to returning to his boyhood club, Universitario de Deportes of Peru’s Liga 1. Those rumors have picked up some steam in part due to a report that the Sounders don’t intend to extend Ruidíaz’s contract, which is up at the end of they year. The equally ever-present problem with such a move is Raúl’s existing contract and salary. The striker is currently earning $2.7 million per year, which would double the estimated salary of the highest paid player on Universitario’s current roster.

Ruidíaz is performing below the level that you need from a Designated Player No. 9, but is still doing much better than in either of the last two seasons. He’s already played more minutes than he did in 2023, and has appeared in the same number of games as he did in 2022. Having played 82 fewer minutes than in 2022, with 8 goals and 2 assists he’s one goal shy of the total he reached with 9 goals and 2 assists in 1,306 MLS minutes that season. They’re not numbers you build a squad around — certainly not for an aging striker who doesn’t contribute a ton to the rest of the game and has struggled to stay on the field — but that’s also not the kind of production you pay another team to take off your hands. As things stand, the Sounders would need to either receive a fee or have a team taking Ruidíaz on loan covering at least enough of his salary to open up his DP spot. Universitario seem unlikely to be able to meet either of those requirements, regardless of how big it would be for the club in their 100th anniversary season. That doesn’t mean a team can’t or won’t come in and make an offer that’s worth Seattle’s while, but it’s highly unlikely that it’s La U.

Catching up on Sounder at Heart

What you need to get ready for the weekend's action.


Next game: Saturday July 6 Seattle hosts New England Revolution at Lumen Field. The 7:30 pm PDT match is on MLS Season Pass.

Reign FC

Next game: Sunday July 7 Seattle hosts Utah Royals (who just fired their coach) at Luman Field. The 3 pm PDT match is on KONG and NWSL+. It is also the last match before the Olympics break and Summer Cup.

Tacoma Defiance

Next game: Sunday, July 7 Defiance hosts SKCII at Starfire Sports Complex. The 7 pm PDT match will be available to stream on

Looking back at the news

Everything else you need to know

The folks over at Stars and Stripes FC are doing a position-by-position breakdown of the USWNT roster for the Paris Olympics. Start getting caught up with their profile of the goalkeepers.

On the club side of the women’s game in the U.S., while teams like the Kansas City Current and Orlando Pride continue to flex their incredible strength at the top of the table, the parity in NWSL was reasserted in last week’s games. We could certainly see one of those teams in the NWSL Championship game being held at CPKC Stadium, the Current’s new home.

The strength of KC and Orlando are in no small part a credit to their two attackers, Temwa Chawinga and Barbra Banda, leading the race for the Golden Boot, as highlighted in Spotrac’s Mid-Year NWSL end of season award guesses.

That sort of excitement and competition is one of the many selling points driving up the values of NWSL clubs. Those values have been thrown into sharp focus by the $300 million valuation placed on Angel City FC as Bob Iger and Willow Bay look set to purchase the club.

That sharp focus also creates a space and opportunity for those who have been wronged within the toxic environment that exists within NWSL (as well as women’s soccer, soccer, sports, and society more broadly). The latest particular instance involves a series of stories about the San Diego Wave, started by former employee of the club Brittany Alvarado.

Alongside large investments for some clubs, though, there are also clubs being entirely left out or left behind. Blackburn Rovers are apparently planning to pay their women’s team what could only very generously be described as an allowance. Some clubs are just fully abandoning their women’s teams from the top down to the academy, like Reading.

In Football for Fellas news, the USMNT got blown out of Copa American contention with their loss to Uruguay in their final group game. This leaves them in a bad situation with exclusively bad choices ahead of them. One thing we know for sure is that they can’t turn to assistant coach B.J. Callaghan, as he’s been named as the new head coach of Nashville SC. Another challenge that faces USSF and the USMNT is the ongoing competition for dual nationals. While there is obviously more that US Soccer can do on this front, ultimately the answer lies inside each individual.

At a recent Real Salt Lake match a man with visible tattoos of nazi and white supremacist symbols was spotted in the stands and eventually removed from the stadium. The incident raised questions about what sort of messages are appropriate or acceptable in these spaces, and what sort of grace should be afforded to someone on a path of change and hopefully improvement.

To end with at least a slightly different bad note, Crystal Palace FC’s primary jersey sponsor, NET88, may seem like one in a sea of betting sponsors in the world of football. They are, however, an illegal Vietnamese betting operator.

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