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Raúl Ruidíaz, João Paulo finalize contract extensions, reports say

Both players were going into the final year of their deal.

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Los Angeles FC v Seattle Sounders Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Not only will the Seattle Sounders be bringing back most of their 2021 roster this year, but many of their key players are already signed for 2023. Two more players are likely to be added to that list soon.

Raúl Ruidíaz and João Paulo are both close enough to finalizing contract extensions that a source told Sounder at Heart an announcement could be made as soon as this week. The discussions were first reported by The Athletic on Friday and Niko Moreno even indicated that João Paulo’s new deal through 2024 is already completed. On Monday, Nick Negrini reported that Ruidíaz had also signed through 2024.

Ruidíaz and João Paulo would join a group of players signed through at least 2023 that already includes Stefan Frei, Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnák. The Sounders are also reportedly discussing a contract extension with Xavier Arreaga and are likely talking to Yeimar about a similar deal, too.

Ruidíaz’s contract situation was easily the most contentious. The Sounders began talks with their prolific striker last year, but he made it known that he was not happy with how they were progressing and even let it be known that he was looking to make a move.

Assuming the deal gets finalized, the Sounders will be locking up a player who has averaged .71 goals per 90 minutes during his MLS career and will likely own every team scoring record by the time he leaves.

Similarly, João Paulo has been among the league’s best defensive midfielders since arriving ahead of the 2020 season with a blend of defensive acumen, passing ability and offensive flare rarely seen in the league.

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