One of the most important objectives early this offseason for Garth Lagerwey was finding a way to bring back João Paulo following their decision to deny the Brazilian’s purchase option. After several weeks of what we are told have been extensive negotiations, Sounder at Heart was able to confirm Botafogo and the Sounders are closing in on an agreement for a permanent transfer of the 29-year-old defensive midfielder.
Although we have been unable to find a secondary source on some of the details, this is what we know so far: João Paulo will remain a Designated Player — at least for now — and he’ll be signed through 2023 with a club option for an additional year.
The entire reasoning behind declining the original option is quite obvious, Seattle’s front office is always in the business of getting the best deal possible. Considering Botafogo is going through one of their worst seasons in a long time — sitting two points from last place in the “Brasileirao” and surrounded by reports of financial troubles — one could surmise the Sounders knew they would have significant leverage at the negotiating table.
Now, with our latest update on the situation, I believe Garth and Co. were able to retain João at or near their own terms. Everything publicly stated by the Brazilian club has established a narrative that they would not take any less money than initially accorded with Seattle back in January.
That said, I can tell you by my experience following the transfer market that there are times clubs in South America do not provide details on players’ deals to prevent any dissatisfaction from their fan base. Regardless of the numbers behind the final terms, Seattle has now secured a key component to their midfield and can move on to filling positions of need for the upcoming season.