The long-speculated international transfer involving Sounders FC homegrown All-Star DeAndre Yedlin seemed to take a transatlantic step closer to reality Friday when the team confirmed he was “visiting a big club in Europe.”
According to multiple media reports, the club is Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League, and the reason for the visit was to take a physical. At least two European websites reported it as a done deal, but Sounders FC did not confirm that.
“Certainly we’re working toward a potential transaction,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “… And certainly we would announce anything in its entirely, if and when it comes to fruition.”
Yedlin is expected back in Seattle before the Sounders’ home match against the Houston Dynamo at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hanauer said he expects the deal to be structured in a way that would keep Yedlin in Seattle through this Major League Soccer season and perhaps beyond.
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That would maintain the status quo at right back, where Yedlin starts and where coach Sigi Schmid says he has “a number of different options” including Brad Evans, Jalil Anibaba and Micheal Azira.
Yedlin, 21, is a Seattle native who came out of the Sounders FC Academy and played for the Sounders U-23 Premier Development League team and for the University of Akron. He has made the MLS All-Star team in each of his two professional seasons, and this year he debuted with the U.S. national team.
His three appearances in the FIFA World Cup boosted his international reputation. Since his return from Brazil, there have been regular rumors about his possible jump to Europe, with AS Roma and Liverpool reported as likely destinations before the emergence of Tottenham. Yedlin started against Tottenham on July 19, when the teams played to 3-3 draw in Seattle.
“This is sort of the world we live in in our sport,” Hanauer said. “Interest comes in on players all the time. Sometimes it’s more serious than others. … As long as the right information is being communicated and everybody’s on the same page, things go pretty smoothly. We feel like that’s been the case here.”
The Sounders and MLS would share a multimillion-dollar transfer fee. The Sounders also would receive allocation money, which does not count against the club’s salary budget and can be used to sign players new to MLS, to re-sign an existing MLS player or for other purposes useful in accommodating the league’s salary cap.
Hanauer said the Sounders “have a decent amount of allocation money right now,” and indicated the Yedlin deal would be beneficial over the longer team.
In the shorter term, Hanauer said the club also is working to improve itself for the stretch run of the regular season.
“We’ve been looking and exploring possible transactions … and there’s still plenty of opportunity either through out-of-contract players or trades within the league,” he said. “We’re still trying to strengthen the roster, but the DeAndre situation is completely unrelated.”
On Thursday, the Sounders traded little-used veteran David Estrada to D.C. United. And on Friday, Schmid indicated the move wasn’t made simply for the announced third-round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
“It opens up a roster spot for us, and a little bit of cap room so we can maybe do something,” Schmid said.
Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Osvaldo Alonso were back at training Friday after playing in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday in Portland. The MLS stars beat Bayern Munich, 2-1. … The National Women’s Soccer League has announced that Seattle Reign FC will open the playoffs at 8 p.m. Aug. 24 with a semifinal match at Memorial Stadium against the league’s fourth-place finisher. The Reign (16-1-5) will play its final home game of the regular season at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Washington Spirit (10-8-4).