Seattle Sounders GM and president Garth Lagerwey this week addressed reports that Nicolas Lodeiro wants to return to his former club Boca Juniors, reiterating the Sounders’ high regard for their star playmaker and downplaying the prospects of his imminent departure.
Lodeiro, who just returned to Seattle after a solid Copa America campaign with Uruguay, was quoted by South American media outlets as wanting to rejoin the Buenos Aires giants, where he was a standout performer from 2015-'16. Lodeiro is said to have even asked his countryman Nahitan Nandez to lobby Boca officials to seek his return, though the extent of his seriousness is not entirely clear.
“Nahitan knows I want to come back, whenever we are called into national-team duty I tell him, and he always does his part, but they do not take me,” said Lodeiro. “I do not know if he has such power.”
It’s not the first time such reports have cropped up, as Lagerwey noted in an appearance on the Sounders Weekly radio show on Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR this week.
“I think certainly this is a road we've been down before. I have a ton of respect for Nico and when you're a player of his caliber, you're going to have a lot of teams that want you, and this is an example of that,” he told host Jackson Felts. “We know Nico had a great experience at Boca and so it doesn't surprise me that someday he might want to go back there. So I think there's actually not a ton of drama here.”
Lodeiro has been a Sounders linchpin practically since the moment of his arrival in the summer of 2016, scoring 28 goals and 46 assists in 101 MLS regular-season and playoff appearances to date and helping the Rave Green win MLS Cup 2016 and reach the 2017 MLS Cup final. Though his departure would open up a huge hole in the Seattle starting XI, Lagerwey sounded relaxed about the midfielder’s near-term future.
“I think we've done this every transfer window in the last couple years,” Lagerwey said. “So Nico saying nice things about Boca isn't a threat to us. I think it's a tribute to what a quality club that is and what a quality guy he is. I hope he speaks well of the Sounders after he leaves the Sounders and gives interviews and says nice things about us, too.
“So we're really happy with Nico, we're delighted with his effort, delighted he came to help our team win and we look forward to him continuing to drive our team forward and hopefully win another MLS Cup.”