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Sounders interest in Hilal Soudani is apparently real

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To recycle a phrase, maybe they aren’t finished yet.

FC Bayern Munchen v GNK Dinamo Zagreb - UEFA Champions League Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

When Garth Lagerwey visited Turin, Italy on Dec. 7, it was reportedly to watch Hilal El Arabi Soudani of Dinamo Zagreb play in their Champions League match against Juventus. According to MLSsoccer.com , the Seattle Sounders are potentially interested in signing the 29-year-old Algerian winger/forward.

Seattle GM Garth Lagerwey visited Europe ahead of the Sounders’ MLS Cup win at Toronto on Dec. 10. The source confirmed that his trip was to see Soudani and Zagreb play at Juventus; Zagreb lost 2-0 to the Italian giants and finished last in Group H with a 0-6-0 record.

Soudani played as the right-sided forward in a 4-3-3 and is often on the right. Even after the recent moves to acquire Harrison Shipp and Will Bruin the Seattle Sounders potentially have a DP spot open. Although Osvaldo Alonso technically occupies the DP spot opened after the team informed Nelson Valdez he would only be coming back at a greatly reduced salary, the Sounders can still choose to pay down Alonso’s cap hit with Targeted Allocation Money.

Lagerwey also suggested that Friday’s acquisition of Will Bruin reduces the immediate need to bring in a Soudani-type player, but also pointedly refused to close the door on such a move happening during the winter transfer window.

“That’s definitely still in play, decisions haven’t been made,” Lagerwey said when asked about an international signing. “[Clint] Dempsey’s health will play a role in that. Those are things we don’t know. We’re going to be ultra-cautious with Clint and will bring him back at the pace he needs to come back.

In four seasons with the Croatian power, Soudani has scored more than 60 goals across all competitions. He’s also scored 21 goals for in 28 caps for Algeria. Soudani is flexible enough to play a variety of roles in Brian Schmetzer’s 4-2-3-1 and has the pedigree to suggest he’d be successful quickly.

“You need to get that right, need to understand the role that player is going to fill. Until you know what’s up with Dempsey, you have to [be careful]. That doesn’t close the door on a January signing, but that’s a big part of it.”

The Sounders currently only have 19 players under contract, with eight of those playing in the four attacking spots, so additions of some sort, DP or not, are certain to be coming.