Portuguese soccer club Sporting Lisbon will exercise their option to permanently purchase the contract of loaned-out Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero, the club announced Thursday, Jan 30 (h/t Major League Soccer).
The Sounders have also confirmed the move, which has been expected for some time. Team owner Adrian Hanauer released a statement on the purchase, thanking Montero for his service to the club:
Fredy has been and will always be a special member of our family. Fredy had a wonderful career in Seattle and is continuing that success overseas. Hopefully his quality of play gives him an opportunity to be added to the Colombia World Cup roster. We wish him well with this next chapter of his career.
Montero has been with Sporting since July on a loan agreement, with an option to buy.
Seattle will receive a transfer fee in return, though terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. It is expected to be well north of $10 million, which the Sounders will keep two-thirds of and redistribute the other third throughout the league.
A translation of Sporting's announcement by Major League Soccer noted that the Portuguese power and Montero have agreed to personal terms that will keep the 26-year-old forward in Lisbon through the 2018 season. There is no word on his weekly wages, but with a release clause of $81.4 million, it's safe to say Montero is far richer now than he ever was while playing in MLS.
With the way Montero was playing, however, it was clear from the outset that he would probably never return to the Sounders. He has excelled in the Primeira Liga, scoring a hat-trick in his first match and sitting tied for the lead in the top division with 13 goals. The Colombian forward has been a goal-scoring machine no matter where he has gone, but it was still a nice surprise for Sporting to see him play well with the uptick in competition.
Montero is the Sounders' all-time leading scorer with 47 goals in MLS, a record that is unlikely to be broken anytime soon. An initial loan transfer turned buy from Deportivo Cali in 2009, Montero made the MLS All-Star team three times, but it has become increasingly apparent that the two sides were due for a divorce.
Seattle loaned him out the first time last year to Millonarios in Colombia and then did the same over the summer with Sporting. While it was unclear what the motives were at the time, the Sounders' stunning purchase of Clint Dempsey from Everton helped clear the picture.
By nabbing an eight-figure deal with Sporting, Seattle will have all but made back the $9 million transfer fee paid to the Premier League side for Dempsey, the USMNT captain whose move back stateside was a landmark deal in MLS history.
Seattle will open their MLS season against Kansas City on March 8. Sporting are currently in second place in the Primeira Liga table behind Benfica.
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