It would appear to be that time of year when Nicolas Lodeiro transfer rumors crop up. Once again, it’s Boca Juniors who are attached.
These rumors always seem to take on a similar form. Usually, it’s someone from Lodeiro’s camp speaking about one day wanting to play there or someone from Boca saying they’d like to bring him back. These can often be explained as two parties who genuinely have positive feelings about one another making sure to keep things that way, but they’re ultimately easy to dismiss since the biggest obstacle has seemingly always been money.
The reality is that Lodeiro moved to the Seattle Sounders at least in part because he got a big raise and nothing has really altered that paradigm since. Lodeiro is due at least $3 million in 2023 and there’s no reason to think he’d make anywhere near that amount if the 33-year-old moved to Argentina now.
The latest rumor does have a small twist, however. This time Lodeiro’s agent is giving indications that money might not be the deciding factor.
“If you say to him today, between money, which is useful to everyone, or glory in Boca, obviously the balance tilts at that minute of seeking glory with Boca,” Lodeiro’s agent Gerardo Cano told Puro Boca. “Obviously, if there is even the slightest possibility, Nico would study it with great affection.”
The question was asked in connection to rumors that Boca vice president Juan Román Riquelme had reached out to Lodeiro about a possible return. Gano effectively confirmed the contact, but notably stopped well short of suggesting any move was imminent. In fact, Gano suggested Lodeiro is looking forward to the Club World Cup and also hinted at negotiations with the Sounders over a possible extension.
“[They] have a contract until December 2023, and well, you will know the career that Nico is doing there in the MLS,” he said. “They want him to be there a few more years.”
An extension would actually make a lot of sense for both the Sounders and Lodeiro, especially if they can figure out a way to bring him off Designated Player wages. From a sporting perspective, it makes sense to keep Lodeiro even as a DP for at least another season. For all the consternation over his production last year, he was still an upper-tier attacking midfielder and his fitness remains elite. There’s no reason to think he’s due for an extreme dropoff this year.
From a financial perspective, getting him off DP wages would be hugely helpful, though. Lodeiro is likely due about $3.3M in 2023 — a figure that would make it impossible to buy him down below the DP threshold — but the Sounders could potentially offer him an extension through 2025 that guarantees him nearly $5M while bringing his cap hit to the TAM range. If Boca isn’t offering anything that pays more than $1M per season, Lodeiro is made more than whole.
If I had to guess, I think an extension is far more likely than a move abroad in 2023. If an agreement can’t be made, however, this is probably his final season in Seattle.