When João Paulo was signed by the Seattle Sounders back in February, it was announced that the deal was structured a bit different than previous Designated Players. Rather than paying an outright transfer fee, the Sounders would bring João Paulo in on a one-year loan with an option to buy. The initial loan fee was reported to be about $1.25 million with an equivalent payment due at the end of the year if the transfer was made permanent.
The flexibility essentially allowed the Sounders to test-drive João Paulo before committing to a long-term agreement.
In a recent interview with Territorio MLS, João Paulo revealed that if the Sounders were to complete the transfer he would be signed through 2022.
“My contract is a loan until the end of the year, they have the option to make the purchase,” he said, according to lance.com. “If they buy, I would have two more years here, until the end of 2022. The interest happened in August last year, they were very cautious, they observed, they went to two games in Brazil. It ended up happening, due to my versatility, of being able to play in more than one role in the middle.”
It’s probably still a bit too early to say he will definitely be back in 2021, but it seems like João Paulo has been every bit as good and versatile as the Sounders had hoped. In Nico Lodeiro’s absence, João Paulo started the Sounders’ first three competitive games of the season as a No. 10 and responded with two goals and an assist. Since then, he’s dropped into the defensive midfield and played as a 6 and an 8. His defensive numbers have been strong, and he’s added another assist and scored his first MLS goal.