There’s a rather high-stakes game of international poker being played right now. The Seattle Sounders and Dynamo Kiev are basically heads up, with a 23-year-old Paraguayan being used as the stakes.
Although Gonzalez appears to have effectively agreed to personal terms and the Sounders thought they had an agreement on a transfer fee, Dynamo Kiev has apparently reneged and are now asking for more money, according to Paraguayan journalist Wilson Gonzalez.
Derlis González está muy molesto porque no respetaron la palabra empeñada. El dueño del Dinamo cambió los términos acordados con #Seattle. https://t.co/CiD5h0QQx1— Wilson González (@Wilson11G) August 5, 2017
De la representación de Derlis González: "El dueño del Dinamo se puso duro para dejarlo salir. Tenemos hasta el martes para resolver"— Wilson González (@Wilson11G) August 5, 2017
From the looks of it, both sides are willing to let this play out as long as possible. Essentially, that means we probably aren’t going to get a resolution until very close to the Aug. 9 transfer deadline.
Luckily for the Sounders, they seem to be holding the much stronger hand. They clearly would like to sign Gonzalez. He’s plays the position where the Sounders are probably most unsettled at the moment (left mid), is young enough that he has quite a bit of upside (23) and he’s already got a ton of high-level experience (27 national-team caps and 23 appearances in Champions League).
But the Sounders don’t need Gonzalez, at least not right now. Even without Gonzalez, the Sounders are 4-0-3 with a +10 goal-difference in their last seven games. They’ve pulled even on points with second-place FC Dallas and seven of their remaining 11 games are at home where they are 6-1-3. Gonzalez probably makes them one of the MLS Cup favorites, but they’ve got every reason to believe they can compete regardless.
Dynamo seem to be playing a bit of a bluff, as their Champions League qualifier was the equivalent of the turn. By bowing out to Young Boys, they lost out on what could have been millions of dollars and a far stronger negotiating position. Even before that, they were facing some financial difficulties and even had to get creative paying player wages.
That they want more money probably isn’t entirely shocking. But they seem to be practically drawing dead. If they play this all the way out by keeping Gonzalez, they’re basically banking on someone else in Europe suddenly making a better offer than the Sounders did (I guess we can say they are hoping to catch their inside straight on the river). The Sounders know all this and they happen to have a couple very good poker players reading the cards. I know who I’d bet on.