After a couple of months of rumors, the Seattle Sounders and Nicolas Lodeiro finally made things official on Wednesday, when the club announced they signed the Uruguayan international to a multi-year Designated Player contract from Argentine club Boca Juniors.
Lodeiro is the club's third Designated Player alongside Clint Dempsey and Nelson Haedo Valdez. The club has indicated Lodeiro's contract will run through 2019 and the Sounders will hold the option for additional years.
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder joins Seattle after one year at Boca. He scored six goals in 30 appearances for the Buenos Aires club, helping the team to the 2015 Primera Division and Copa Argentina titles as well as a semifinal appearance in the Copa Libertadores.
"We have doggedly pursued our top target, Nicolás Lodeiro, for the past several months and we are delighted our persistence finally paid off with his signing. We were willing to wait for Nico because we believe in his character off the field as well as his abilities on it,” Sounders GM and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a club statement. “Wherever he has played he has made his team better. We believe he can be a big piece of where we want to take the Sounders long term.
"For a player who has played in three Copa Americas, winning once, played in two World Cups and played in four Copa Libertadores, twice reaching the semi-final, to join us in the prime of his career reflects the growing stature of not only Seattle, but MLS as a whole."
Lodeiro, who had been linked with Seattle since May, was on Uruguay’s roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario and represented his country at the last two World Cups and 2015 and 2011 Copa America tournaments. A member of Uruguay’s squad at the 2012 London Olympics, Lodeiro has three goals in 48 career senior caps.
Prior to his time at Boca, Lodeiro spent a year at Brazilian club Corinthians, two years at Brazilian side Botafogo and two-and-a-half seasons with Dutch powerhouse Ajax. He began his pro career with Nacional in his native Uruguay.
The 5-foot-7 midfielder fills a major hole at the No. 10 position for Seattle, who have scored the third-fewest goals in MLS and sit in ninth-place in the Western Conference, 10 points behind Vancouver for the final playoff spot. The Sounders’ attacking issues came to a head on Sunday, when they took until the 88th minute to register their lone shot in their 3-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City.
Seattle and longtime head coach Sigi Schmid parted ways on Tuesday, with longtime assistant Brian Schmetzer set to lead the club on an interim basis.
According to SoundersFC.com, club brass is hopeful Lodeiro can make his debut against the LA Galaxy this Sunday (4 pm ET on ESPN; MLS LIVE in Canada).