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Garth Lagerwey on transfer rumors: ‘There is always more than one player’

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All indications are that Sounders have given up on their pursuit of Wesley.

Palmeiras v Defensa y justicia - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2021 Photo by Andre Penner - Pool/Getty Images

One of the marks of a good organization is that they don’t allow themselves to get painted into a corner when it comes to transfers. When Derlis González’s move fell through in 2017, the Sounders were still able to sign Victor Rodriguez. If Paolo Hurtado wants to go to Turkey, the Sounders are fine signing Brad Smith. When Bahia wanted more than the Sounders were willing to pay for Gregore, they turned to João Paulo.

Especially during Garth Lagerwey’s tenure as Chief Soccer Officer, the Sounders have shown a willingness to spend without overpaying. With few exceptions, they’ve gotten it right — Rodriguez was an MLS Cup MVP, Smith became a consistent starter, and João Paulo turned into the best deep-lying midfielder in the league.

The Sounders' talent evaluators have earned a degree of trust.

From the sound of it, we’ll have another data point on which we can judge them soon.

Judging by what’s out in the public and reading a bit between the lines of Lagerwey’s recent appearance on Sounders Weekly, it appears as though the Sounders and Palmeiras were unable to come to terms on Wesley’s transfer. But that doesn’t mean the Sounders are planning to stand pat before the transfer window closes on Aug. 5, giving them about a week to get something finalized.

“There is always more than one player,” Lagerwey said, while effectively offering another “no comment” on Wesley, specifically. “We almost never get into situations where we only have one negotiation, where we only have one option. That’s just poor negotiating posture if we were to do that.

“Some of the negotiations get more attention than others. The other thing I’d add, the longer some of these things go on the less truth is there.”

This is a bit softened from statements he made a few weeks ago that seemed to be designed to lower expectations, but Lagerwey still insisted that any move won’t be focused just on 2021.

“We’re working to make the team better,” he said. “But I’ll repeat that anyone we sign needs to make our team better not just this year but next year, when we hopefully have a fully healthy Jordan Morris back in the squad.”

This all seems to be perfectly in line with comments VP of Analytics Ravi Ramineni made to the Sounder at Heart podcast earlier this year when he said that he never zeros in on one player, but rather a collection of them.

“The success criteria I look at for my job is that once I have my list, at that point I should be happy if we pick any one of them,” Ramineni said. “That’s what I aim for.”