Speaking to Jackson Felts on Sounders Weekly on Tuesday, Brad Smith chatted about his vacation, play on the field, and his future with the Seattle Sounders. Smith’s loan ends at the end of July 2019, at which time he is scheduled to return to AFC Bournemouth. The mid-table EPL side has Smith under contract until June 2020. Keeping the dynamic left back in Seattle would either involve a loan extension or a purchase complicated by MLS roster rules. That hasn’t kept Smith from wanting to see out the 2019 season with a Sounders team that counts on his dynamic play.
“I think it’s definitely possible for me to stay. I would like to see the season out,” Smith said. “I think we’ve got a great group this year and I think we can do some special things. But I haven’t heard anything personally from that side of it, but I think the clubs will be speaking soon-ish, rather than later, to kind of work out what we’re going to do.”
Smith’s contract is over a million dollars, but at this time the Sounders are picking up about $600,000, making him a TAM player. Purchasing him outright would put him near the Designated Player threshold, depending on the fee.
AFC Bournemouth did not take Smith back in January during their negotiated recall window, despite their relative injury crisis. Smith’s performance in the early MLS season may change their opinion of him, or they could decide to let their former purchase from Liverpool go on a discount. Sounders President of Soccer and GM Garth Lagerwey will have interesting negotiations if he wants Smith to stay for a significant period of time.
Bournemouth’s stadium project is stagnant and their finances on a whole are tight. Their wage bill is not entirely covered by their membership in the Premier League. Negotiating with a club in such financial straights does give the Sounders a bit of power.
For Smith, his primary focus is taking each match in front of him and trusting the two clubs that control his future to work together. Those conversations will take place over the next few months behind closed doors and will likely influence other actions Seattle takes during the summer transfer window.