It sure looks like Brad Smith is heading back to England. The Seattle Sounders left back has been here on loan since last year, and received an extension over the summer to keep him through MLS Cup. But that will soon expire and based on comments he’s made to Australian media, it sounds as if he’ll at least try to get back into Bournemouth before exploring other options.
“Things change very quickly and ultimately me going out on loan and getting game time is important for me and important for Bournemouth as well,” Smith said, according to Australia’s Channel Nine. “I’ve kind of got into form and proved I’m still a player.
”I’ll go back and sit down and maybe he (Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe) wants me in his plans and if that’s the case then I’m happy to be a part of it and be there.”
While returning to the Sounders isn’t impossible, it also might not be that simple. During his loan, the Sounders were picking up about half of his salary. Even then, he counted nearly $600,000 against the salary budget and had to be paid down with Targeted Allocation Money. Only a handful of MLS outside backs made more than Smith’s budget number and only three defenders made a higher total salary. Although Smith’s contract reportedly expires over the summer — meaning he can already sign a pre-contract with someone else — he would almost certainly have to accept a significant pay cut to return to the Sounders longterm.
On the other hand, even with talented left backs Nouhou and Joevin Jones on the roster, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer showed a clear preference for Smith. The 25-year-old ended up finishing the season with seven assists in about 2,300 minutes across the regular season and playoffs and even showed some impressive defensive chops during the MLS Cup run. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising for the Sounders to attempt to work out some sort of deal if Smith can’t regain his spot with Bournemouth.