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Brad Smith officially available after Bournemouth bids farewell

Sounders had previously expressed openness to bringing back the Australian international, but it’s unclear if they’re still interested.

AFC Bournemouth Training & Press Conference Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images

UPDATE: As expected, this doesn’t seem to be moving toward a reunion.

Brad Smith is officially available after his contract with English Premier League side Bournemouth came to an end on Monday. Smith had spent the latter half of the 2019-20 season on loan with Cardiff City in the English Championship where he made just three appearances, all off the bench. Smith had been under contract with Bournemouth for the past four seasons, but had made just five Premier League appearances and none since the 2016-17 campaign.

Since making his Premier League debut as a 20-year-old with Liverpool, Smith’s career has mostly been defined by a lack of playing time and being loaned out for one reason or another. His most consistent and productive spell of playing time came during his 18-month loan to the Sounders where he established himself as a first-choice left back despite solid competition for playing time. His best season as a professional came in 2019 when he logged nearly 2,300 minutes during the regular season and playoffs. In addition to starting all four playoff games on the way to winning MLS Cup, Smith also logged seven assists.

As good as we he was, though, there are at least two things that complicate a potential return.

The first is his price tag. Smith’s contract paid him more than $1 million a year, which would make him one of the top paid outside back in MLS. Even if the Sounders brought him back closer to the amount they covered — about half of that — it would still require for them to use Targeted Allocation Money and it’s unclear how much flexibility they currently have.

There’s also the matter of the Sounders not necessarily needing a left back. Nouhou was arguably the Sounders’ most consistent defender during the MLS is Back Tournament, is younger than Smith and may even have the higher upside. The Sounders also still have Joevin Jones, who is also on a TAM contract and offers a similar skillset at Smith.

The revised MLS transfer window will open on Wednesday and won’t close until Oct. 29.

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