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Talking through this Fredy Montero rumor

Some Twitter account says he’s leaving China and possibly heading for the Sounders.

Gallery Photo: US Open Cup: Sounders v San Jose Earthquakes: Photos Jane Gershovich/JaneG. Photography

Fredy Montero was, undeniably, one of the most talented players to ever wear a Seattle Sounders uniform. His 47 goals and 34 assists still rank as franchise records, despite his having not played a game here since 2012.

But it wasn’t just his offensive production that endeared Montero to right-minded Sounders fans. The Colombian has continued to visit Seattle and has attended training sessions basically every offseason. As recently as a couple weeks ago, Montero was even in Seattle playing pickup soccer with Steve Zakuani. He’s also married to a Seattle-area native and has professed a desire to return at some point.

Now, there’s a rumor suggesting just that.

Adding a bit of fuel to this rumor is a recent decision by the Chinese Super League to reduce the number of foreigners who can play to three per team. Montero’s team currently has seven, including the recently signed Nemanja Gudelj. The possibility of Tianjin Teda looking to move Montero appears to be a very real possibility, even if he was their second-leading scorer last year.

We also know that Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer remains a big Montero fan and that the team has shown a willingness to bring back former players. One of those players, Alvaro Fernandez, was among Montero’s best friends on the team and even stayed at his former teammate’s house last summer. Montero would surely take up a Designated Player spot, but he’s still just 29 and, if anything, is a better player than when he left.

Then there was this playful, possibly even teasing tweet.

But how likely is he to come to the Sounders? It just doesn’t seem all that likely.

Even discounting that this is an account with fewer than 50 followers, it’s important to note that there wasn’t exactly a declarative statement made about Montero’s destination. “Possibly” joining the Sounders is a pretty massive hedge.

Beyond the reliability of the account, it’s also fair to ask if Montero even makes sense for the Sounders. First off, he’d be subject to the Allocation Order, and the Sounders currently sit 21st on that list. Even if they were willing to pay whatever it cost to move up, Montero is a very redundant player for a team with Clint Dempsey on the roster.

Montero did play some center forward at Sporting CP — where he scored 34 all-competition goals over parts of three seasons — but the Portuguese league isn’t exactly MLS when it comes to physicality.

Of course, that’s all assuming the Sounders are still operating under the assumption that Dempsey will be on their roster. If something changes in terms of their belief that he’ll be playing in 2017, this Montero rumor starts to make a whole lot more sense.

It’s not at all hard to imagine Montero slotting in as a de facto No. 10, combining with the likes of Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris to form one of the scariest attacks in MLS.

This doesn’t seem quite likely at this point, but stranger things have certainly happened.

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