MLS: Javier Saviola to Swap the Champions League and Malaga for Seattle?

Paul MullaneyContributor IIFebruary 17, 2013

MALAGA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Javier Saviola (C) of Malaga CF reacts beside Bruno Alves (L) of FC Zenit St Petersburg after missing a scoring opportunity during the UEFA Champions League group C match between Malaga CF and FC Zenit St Petersburg at the Rosaleda stadium on September 18, 2012 in Malaga, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

With the start of the MLS regular season now under two weeks away, could Seattle be about to pull off what might be the biggest move of the offseason?

France Football and the Seattle Times report that the Sounders are very interested in the Argentinean striker Javier Saviola, whose contract with La Liga side Malaga is set to expire in June.

Given that this is less than six months away, Seattle are able to enter into pre-contract talks with the player, and they could be about to potentially seal a move which would make him a Designated Player for the Sounders upon his arrival in the summer.

Saviola once ranked among Europe's hottest prospects, but although he featured 123 times for Barcelona and scored 49 goals during a six-year period between 2001 and 2007 after his arrival from River Plate, he never really fulfilled all of his potential.

Relatively quiet loan spells with Monaco and Sevilla followed before he made a shock move from Barcelona to archrivals Real Madrid, but he made even less of an impact in the Spanish capital, featuring only 17 times during the two years he spent there.

A move to Benfica in 2009 brought Saviola a little more success—he was part of the team that won the Portuguese title in the 2009-10 season—and he left after three years with the Lisbon side to return to Spain to join Malaga.

This season, Saviola has scored eight times in 24 appearances, including a goal against Zenit in the Champions League

Throughout his career, Saviola has struggled with inconsistency, and there have been doubts about his fitness, but his ability has never been in question. A move to the Pacific Northwest and to the MLS might well represent a fresh start for Saviola, who, at the age of 31, still ought to have a good few years left in him.

Should he make the move to sign with Sigi Schmid's side, Saviola will join up with compatriot Mauro Rosales, who's been with the Sounders since the 2011 season, and there are a number of other Spanish speakers in the squad who should make the task of settling in that little bit easier.