If this report at FutbolMLS.net is correct than Obefemi Martins has a release clause at four million dollars (actually at 3 Million Euro, but really close to the same). Now, players can be purchased for lower than the release clause, but at the price of the release clause the current team is granting a new team the right to acquire. A bidding war can build things past that clause as well. That is not reported in this case as there are no other Martins rumors.
What would a four million dollar transfer fee mean? It would set in cement that Martins would be coming as a Designated Player. That was 99% likely anyway, but this makes that 100%. He would also be one of the highest transfers to MLS ever. Supposedly Robbie Keane is the player who an MLS club payed the most at five million dollars.
It doesn't mean anything else. It is not a sign of prices going up. It is no more restrictive on the salary cap than other full DPs. It would mean that the Sounders are spending the money Joe Roth said they would.
As a reminder Joe Roth is the majority investor/operator of the team. He's worth about 700 million dollars or so. In 2010 he made about 1 million just on older films. In March his next blockbuster comes out. Then there are the other owners. Hanauer and Carey are pretty darn wealthy when compared to the rest of us, not Roth wealthy, but they've done well for themselves. Those three owners are the ones that spend their money on this Sounders thing. Paul Allen's involvement is let's say different.
Let's talk about what four million dollars is for this team.
53,000 seats to see Drew Carey perform live standup in Richmond BC (that may actually be impossible to do)