TUKWILA, Wash. – Fredy Montero was back at Sounders practice Tuesday, but the franchise leading scorer, who earlier this year left on a loan to Colombian club Millonarios, wasn’t back on the field with his old teammates.
Instead, Montero was just saying hi to his friends, and perhaps saying goodbye to his Sounders for good. There was always a strong possibility that Montero would not return when Seattle loaned him out to Millonarios, but the odds of him coming back are even smaller now in light of numerous reports that he will transfer to Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, one of the top teams in the Portugal’s Primeira Liga.
While it is possible the Sounders, who still retain Montero’s rights, could work out another loan, reports in the Portuguese media say a loan price of about 3 Million Euros has been agreed to between the clubs. Montero wouldn’t confirm that any deal was done, but he didn’t give much in the way of a denial either. Montero said nothing was official yet, but when asked about what it would mean to play for a big European club, he spoke as if the deal is all but done.
“It means a lot,” Montero said. “That’s my dream coming true. I hope to do good there. I was waiting for this opportunity the past years, and it is here now. Hopefully I can enjoy the opportunity like I’ve done with my other ones in the past.”
But even if Montero’s time with the Sounders comes to an official end in the next few days or weeks, he doesn’t plan on being a stranger to Seattle. Montero’s parents and sisters still live in the area, and his wife, who is expecting the couple’s first child this fall, will stay in Seattle until after she has the baby.
“This is my second home,” Montero said. “It is always going to be my second home.”
When Montero left before the season, the hope was that it would be win-win situation for player and club. He wanted a chance to advance his career, both at the club and national team level, and the Sounders, while happy with Montero’s production, saw a potential benefit in shaking things up after four years of playoff disappointment. Montero still has work to do to make Colombia’s World Cup squad, but the expected move to Portugal indicates his career is on the rise, while the Sounders hope current leading scorer Obafemi Martins—a player they couldn’t have signed with Montero still on the team—helps put the team over the top come playoff time.
“For Fredy the experience of trying something else … for him to be able to try Europe or try in South America again to see where he’s at was a great experience for him,” said Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson. “He was very important for us in our success. I think we’re both happy where we’re at and I think he has great feeling towards the club.”
And while the transfer window likely will see Montero leaving for Europe, there’s a good chance it could see the Sounders make an addition or two as well.
“Like every window that opens, it’s really busy and agents are pumping players your way, and we have some guys that we’re looking at,” Henderson said. “We have some cash available to look for players, but we’ll still pursuing the search and really active. We’ll see how it plays out.”