Fredy Montero is in the midst of a breakout season at Portuguese powerhouse Sporting CP, that much is for sure.
Less than halfway through his first European campaign, the 26-year-old Colombian has already scored 13 goals in 14 Primeira Liga appearances, a tally that includes a hat trick in his debut and leads the division, and has 16 goals in 17 competitive matches.
Building on that momentum, reports have begun to circulate that Sporting have exercised their option to make Montero’s loan from the Seattle Sounders a full transfer. Colombia’s El País and Spain’s Marca placed the fee paid Seattle at somewhere between 10 and 12 million euros. They also reported that Sporting has placed a buyout clause of 60 million euros in Montero’s contract.
The Sounders, though, don’t seem ready to count their money.
Sounders GM and part owner Adrian Hanauer offered no comment on the specific figures being reported, but did suggest that nothing was finalized.
"He is officially the property of Major League Soccer/Sounders FC until Sporting Lisbon exercise the clause that allows them to buy him outright,” Hanauer wrote in an e-mail to MLSsoccer.com. “The terms had been set at the time of the loan.
“I haven't read any of the stories and will only comment if/when we actually execute something worthy of reporting.”
That seems to be at odds with what Montero said in an interview with FourFourTwo magazine's print edition last week, when he implied the deal was done.
"Stability is something very important for [one's] performance because your head is safe," Montero was quoted as saying. "You're not thinking on anything else than training and giving your best each game. I'll be pleased to play here for the next five years"
If the numbers are accurate, it would be the largest fee ever paid for a MLS player, eclipsing the roughly $10 million Villarreal paid for Jozy Altidore in 2008.
Montero has not played for the Sounders since 2012, when he completed a four-year run during which he scored 47 goals and had 34 assists in 119 MLS matches. Hoping to make a run at the 2014 World Cup and grab the attention of Colombian national team manager Jose Pekerman, the Sounders loaned him first to Millonarios in January 2013.
But after a somewhat disappointing stint in which he scored just eight goals in 22 matches, he was left in a bit of limbo before ultimately landing on loan at Sporting in July.