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Sounders close to finalizing loan for Argentine midfielder

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Emanuel Cecchini, 22, would likely be a TAM player.

Banfield v Rosario Central - Torneo Primera Division 2016/2017 Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent via Getty Images

It looks like the Seattle Sounders may be close to making their first signing of the summer transfer window. The Sounders are reportedly hoping to finalize a loan for Argentine midfielder Emanuel Cecchini, 22, according to a report from Spain and confirmed by Niko Moreno.

According to La Opinion de Malaga, the Sounders would pay a loan fee of about $150,000 and assume Cecchini’s entire wage bill. The loan would expire at the end of the year at which point the Sounders would have the option of purchasing 50 percent of the player’s rights fro about $2 million. Malaga, who spent last year in the Spanish second division and narrowly missed out on promotion, bought Cecchini from Argentina’s Banfield in 2017 for almost $5 million. Cecchini was coming off an impressive season, scoring four goals and averaging about 2.3 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game as a 20-year-old in the Argentine top flight where Banfield finished fifth in the 30-team circuit.

After making just two appearances for Malaga and briefly being loaned to Mexico’s Leon in 2017-18, though, Cecchini was loaned back to Banfield for most of the 2018-19 season. He ended up making 19 appearances and playing about 1,500 minutes across all competitions.

Although he has played some defensive midfielder, it looks like Cecchini is a bit more of a box-to-box midfielder. He doesn’t seem to fill an immediate need, although it’s possible the Sounders see him as having the potential to play on the wing.

Assuming his wages put him more in the TAM range — which seems likely — it’s also possible the Sounders could still add a more purely offensive player during this window.

While the math seems to make sense, the bigger question is how the Sounders can open the needed international roster spots. The Sounders currently have all eight international spots filled. They would either need to acquire an additional international spot via trade or open one by having one of their current internationals obtain a green card. They could also open a spot by allowing Brad Smith’s loan to end.