Sounders window of opportunity is open — if they want it

Today marks the first Monday of the summer transfer season and a lot of Seattle Sounders FC fans, myself included, want to see some moves made in the Emerald City.

First of all it’s important to explain what the hell the market is and what we need/will lose. This is the opening of summer movements for players and for teams to add some depth and strength  to a side. Moves this market are vital for a Sounders side that is struggling for results and with the second half of the MLS season, US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League group play coming up.

Before throwing names out there that I want to see the Sounders get, let’s take a look at what the side currently has, and what we need.

The one area that I don’t see us adding anything to, but could lose something from the the forward group. This is the area that causes the most debate between myself and fellow NASORB writer Sean Kramer. I like Eddie Johnson and Kramer really doesn’t. I think Fredy Montero may have his bags packed already and Kramer thinks he’s staying put for a while. All and all though this forward pairing is the most productive so far in the Sounders MLS pairing since 2009 with Montero and Nate Jaqua.

The midfield is where I expect to see the most movement. In a perfect world we would dump Alvaro Fernandez for a decent amount of money and get a good center midfielder, that way Mauro Rosales can take his talents out to the wing and we don’t need to give Brad Evans much more playing time. But that also means we will have to spend some money here to get a solid CM.

Defensivly I would love to see the Sounders add some depth at the left back position since I’m not sure Marc Burch or Leo Gonzalez are playing to their potential, but if nothing is available for the right price Burch will do just fine. Also if we could get a deal on a solid center back I could see Seattle dumping Jeff Parke or Jhon Kenndey Hurtado for a more consistent player at the back. No changes in goal with Gspurning on his way back and Andrew Weber playing well.

So there’s where we are right now. So who needs to go to make the right moves happen.

Short answer, Fernandez.

Right now has Flaco’s transfer value at 1.3 million Euros or about 1.65 million US dollars. Seattle would hope for more though, somewhere in the 2 million range since he is a World Cup veteran and solid player. Look for a team in Italy or Spain to be interested in him as they are more flair driven, less physical leagues.

One fear in Sounders fan’s minds as well though it the possibility of losing Montero or Ozzie Alonso, although the latter is unlikely. Alonso, a new US citizen loves Seattle and I doubt his market value is high enough to interest bidders for him. Montero on the other hand may be ready to deal. Not only has he expressed his dream of playing in Europe, but Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer has said that he would deal Montero for the right offer. Teams like Ajax in Holland and Liverpool have been rumored to be showing interest in Montero and the summer transfer market is where teams in Eurpoe want to pick up new talent since their seasons start in September. Fredy is a special type of player that would be hard to replace if gone.

As far as who Seattle is targeting, again it’s pretty simple, Christian Tiffert.

Getting the captain of now relegated German Bundesliga side FC Kaiserslautern to Seattle though may be a little difficult though. Tiffert’s current contract with his club doesn’t expire until next year so his transfer value is a little higher than a player with an expiring contract. If his market value holds, Seattle would have to shell out around 2 million for him in transfer fees. Tiffert though has already visited Seattle and loved the place, so the Sounders may try and work out a deal for him as his current club is in some salary cap trouble and could dump him for cheap, or better yet, free.

UPDATE — After writing this post and talking on Twitter with @kramdawgsean I started to get tweets from @_maxxo_ who actually lives where Tiffert currently plays. In his two seasons with his current team, Tiffert hasn’t been good — he’s been great. The only thing keeping him from a big contract and staying in Germany is his stats last season. In his first season as the club’s captain Tiffert started in 34 matches and scored three goals with four assists — nothing special at all. But look at his stats from the season before, his first with the club — 34 matches, two goals and 20 assists. That’s not a typo, 20 assists.

The reason for his drop in form looks to be one of two things. Either he couldn’t handle the pressure of being the captain, or more likely the team’s 2010-11 leading scorer left the team. Srdjan Lakic, who played forward during Tiffert’s 20 assist season scored 23 goals that campaign. After losing that kind of finishing of course numbers are going to drop. But put players like Montero, Johnson and Zakuani in front of Tiffert and we could see fireworks.

The loss of Fernandez would also open up one of Seattle’s designated player slots where Tiffert could move into. But some crafty accounting by the front office could keep that slot open for another big name. If Tiffert comes to Seattle with a salary around 250K, the Sounders would only have to pay half of that for the rest of this season. Also Seattle got back about 60K when Christian Sivebæk left the side, so that would cover about 50 percent of his salary for this season with the other half coming from the allocation money received from a Flaco transfer fee that exceeds 1.8 million.

Another rumor circuiting around the team is a possible sale or loan of Brad Evans to another MLS side — Columbus to be exact — which would again give the Sounders enough allocation cash to bring in Tiffert as a non-DP and even keep Flaco.

Basically once the Sounders have decided to make a few moves there will be a lot of number crunching, but the best case senerio for this squad would be to dump Flaco and bring in a very talented Tiffert.

Finally let’s take a look at what the best starting XI would be after the transfer window for the Sounders. Give us your thought on what you want to see the Rave Green do in the next month as well.

GK, Michael Gspurning
CB, Jeff Parke*    CB, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado*
RB, Adam Johansson                           LB, Marc Burch
CDM, Osvaldo Alonso
RM, Mauro Rosales               LM, Steve Zakuani
CAM, Christian Tiffert
FW, Fredy Montero     FW, Eddie Johnson
* Patrick Ianni could also fit in either of these spots as he has been playing well lately.
Bold indicates that these two players could switch positions at any time and bring the same results.