When Derlis Gonzalez, Paraguay and Dynamo Kyiv winger, says that he and the Seattle Sounders are discussing a transfer it puts the club in an odd situation. Gonzalez is under contract. As typical, the Sounders, through Vice President of Soccer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson, did not talk about the specific player.
“We try and have respect for players who are at other clubs,” Henderson said after Thursday’s practice as part of the club’s regularly scheduled availability.
“When a player does talk about interest in coming to MLS or Seattle [as Gonzalez did recently]; one, it puts us in the conversation as a club that he’s looking at, so getting our name globally and respect for our club. I think those things are important for our league, when we’re in the game,” Henderson explained. “Also, I just think that having a player that wants to come and play in Seattle kind of fits into the character of the type of guys we are looking for. Maybe they know what we’re all about, what we do to try and help our player, to help them settle and feel comfortable. I think all those little things help a player.”
But Henderson was also clear that just because a player indicates they are interested in joining the Sounders and the Sounders are interested in them, things do not necessarily work out.
“There’s more times than not that we lose out on players, or that we spend time and just because of timing or finances or one reason or another it just doesn’t work out. It’s probably 5% of the time we actually land the player. There’s a lot of work going on that doesn’t come to fruition. That’s just part of the game and we want to be in the conversation.”
Both Henderson and Director of Player Personnel Kurt Schmid are traveling this month. Schmid is out scouting right now. Henderson was in Sao Paulo recently and will be leaving again near the end of April.
“We’re always looking, not only in this window and for the Summer, but for windows in the future.”
Having more money, both at the team (for DPs) and league (TAM/GAM) level gives the technical staff more room to try to attract talent to MLS, with the goal remaining to be “a league of choice.” Henderson thinks that MLS is on its way there.
“I think we have more money to work with. Definitely with ownership and the board throwing more money into the system it will help teams throughout the league, but we’re able to look at a broad range of players.”
The organization seems content with the squad as it stands, though they do have roster flexibility . The current transfer window closes on May 10. Transfer rumors will grow for a couple more weeks and then fade before returning closer to the secondary window (July 10 to August 9). Most rumors, even credible ones where a current DP with another team talks to a potential one about joining the Sounders, will not come true.
“Sometimes you go out and scout a player for months and then lose him at the last minute,” Henderson stated. “So timing is a big part of it.”