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Brazilian midfielder’s rumored price tag illustrates how CBA may be affecting offseason

Botafogo’s Joao Paulo might cost as much as $2 million in transfer fee alone.

Botafogo v Sao Paulo - Brasileirao Series A 2019 Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images

Last week a report emerged suggesting the Seattle Sounders might be targeting Brazilian midfielder João Paolo, with Botafogo openly welcoming an offer for the 29-year-old. Given his durability, quality of play and apparent eagerness to come to the United States, the rumor seemed to make a fair amount of sense.

But with MLS owners and players currently negotiating the soon-to-expire Collective Bargaining Agreement — and Garth Lagerwey openly reluctant to make too many signings before it’s finalized — his potential price tag figured to play a big role in the Sounders’ ultimate interest.

Now, we have an even better sense of why the Sounders may be treading carefully.

The latest report out of Brazil suggests Botafogo may be looking for a transfer fee of about $2 million.

Assuming the report is accurate — and depending on how the deal is structured — that would likely put Paolo on the existing edge of Targeted Allocation Money and Designated Player. If Paolo were willing to take $1 million a year or less on a two-year guaranteed deal, he’d barely squeeze under the TAM threshold. But if his personal terms are even modestly more expensive than that, he’d need to be a DP under the current CBA rules.

The roster implications of that rather thin margin could be huge and have a rather dramatic effect on what else the Sounders can do for the foreseeable future. Even if interest from Turkish club Besiktas is real, it probably makes sense for Lagerwey to wait.

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