VANCOUVER – Fredy Montero may be coming off his best season in Major League Soccer, but the striker's future remains very much unclear.
The three-time MLS All-Star returned to the league after a four-year absence this season when the Vancouver Whitecaps acquired Montero on a season-long loan from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Teda in February. That deal has now come to an end.
Montero revitalized the Whitecaps attack, scoring 15 goals across all competitions, but the club have been very noncommittal as to whether the money is available to bring the Colombian to British Columbia on a permanent basis.
"It's a premature question," Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi told the assembled media at the club's end of season press day. "We really need to sit down with Fredy and determine what his desires are and what his status is with the Chinese club.
"There hasn't really been a lot of dialogue in that regard but that's something that we'll be able to shed a greater light on within the next two, three, four weeks."
Montero reiterated his desire to remain a Whitecap but revealed he's had no contact with his Chinese club. When pushed where he sees his immediate future lying, his answer will disappoint supporters in Vancouver.
"Honestly, China," Montero said. "Because I still have one more year of my contract with them, so that's the only thing that I have for sure now"
That's a situation that Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson would dearly love to change. Robinson said he'd sit down with Montero and his agent and see where everyone is at, cautioning that the striker's "still got a lengthy contract on significant money.”
The Whitecaps have been searching for a prolific striker ever since Camilo left after winning the 2013 MLS Golden Boot. Montero answered their scoring woes this year, but Robinson acknowledged that the club may not be in the financial position to make the loan deal a permanent transfer.
"Fredy's on a very good salary at the moment," Robinson noted. "Fredy and his family will decide what money he's willing to take and not willing to take. There's a number of factors that go into that. It's not as simple as would I want Fredy Montero."
That's a situation that Montero fully understands. Every player has a limited window to make money as a player, and the striker knows he must now weigh up any future financial rewards with quality of life for himself and his family.
"What I've learned about soccer is that you have to take your chances when you have it," Montero stated. "It's difficult as a player to have the team that you want to play [with], the money you want to earn, and being an important part of the team. For me to continue here, it has to depend on both things.
"I do want to keep going with Vancouver Whitecaps, however there is one part by the team in China that has to be done by them and the other part by MLS as well. So I'm kind of in the middle of the negotiation."