The Seattle Sounders may be getting ready to spend some serious money on Brazilian attacker Wesley. Although Palmeiras rejected the Sounders initial transfer offer of about $2.5M, a second offer of nearly $6M for 60% of Wesley’s rights is apparently close enough that a deal is expected soon, according to Brazilian journalist Jorge Nicola.
Nicola is apparently a well-sourced journalist and tends to be reasonably reliable when moves are related to São Paulo-based clubs like Palmeiras. In this case, he says he talked to Wesley’s agent.
“The Seattle Sounders signaled positive for this counterproposal and now Verdão [the nickname for Palmeiras] is waiting for the MLS club to formalize and put on paper what was discussed verbally. Once this proposal is on paper, Palmeiras ought to accept the transfer of the attacker,” he said, as translated from the original Brazilian Portuguese.
A more recent report suggests that Palmeiras have already rejected that offer, however.
Even if the deal isn’t completed, the offer itself is notable as it would suggest the Sounders are willing to spend a near-record transfer fee on a 22-year-old. In 2016, they reportedly paid about $6M for Nicolás Lodeiro and they reportedly paid about $7M for Raúl Ruidíaz’s rights in 2018. Both of those players were quite different than Wesley, however, as they were much more established players. For the Sounders to justify paying this sort of fee for a player with just 13 goals in 81 first-team appearances, there is likely a belief that he could not only be the type of player who can push this team over the edge but also be someone who can be potentially transferred for an even bigger fee.
As a U22 Initiative signing, the Sounders would presumably not be able to reap any allocation money windfall in the event he’s transferred later (unless, perhaps, he’s converted into a Young DP next season). However, any profits they make on such a move would be able to be reinvested into the club in a variety of ways, such as future transfer fees or running the academy.
For this move to really make sense, they’d also need to believe that Wesley is the type of talent who can hit the ground running. To that end, Wesley has been a rotational starter for the first-place team in Brazil’s top flight, earning four starts through 12 league games and 10 more starts this year in various other cup competitions. He’s played mostly as a left winger and center forward, and has 3 goals and 2 assists in about 1,200 minutes across all competitions.