Sounders’ signing of Alvaro Fernandez meant to complement Nicolas Lodeiro
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey has insisted since the beginning of the season – right after Obafemi Martins’ unexpected departure – that the club’s transfer strategy was focused on adding a creative attacking midfielder to sign to a Designated Player contract, and getting another cheaper player that could complement the marquee signing. At one point he said the player would be at a level in which Targeted Allocation Money would be needed, but it has always been clear that complementing the DP was the main priority.
So after the club knew that the signing of Nicolas Lodeiro was going through, they decided to go for a familiar face in Alvaro “Flaco” Fernandez. Lagerwey insisted that Lodeiro was the club’s top transfer target all along, and that the Fernandez signing was a direct result of Lodeiro’s.
“There literally isn’t a better player on the planet that you could add right now than Flaco,” Lagerway said. “He’s literally played for the team, he’s been here. It works out well.”
This isn’t Fernandez’s first rodeo in Seattle; the Uruguayan midfielder played for the Sounders from 2010-12, and by all accounts loved the club and the city. Lodeiro revealed that Fernandez played a big part in his decision to come Seattle, telling Lodeiro: “Don’t even think about it, just go. The city is beautiful, the people are amazing, the fans are great, so you shouldn’t even waste your time thinking about it.”
Before you even consider each player’s strengths and skills on the pitch, their friendship will help both integrate and blend into the team quickly and easily.
As for how Fernandez complements Lodeiro’s strengths on the pitch: “Flaco is another excellent technical player that can play from wide positions, from central positions, he’s a very good complement to a player like Nico,” Lagerwey said.
Since Lodeiro will most likely cement his place as a central attacking midfielder, I think we can expect Fernandez to play an off-the-bench role on the wings for the most part. But if he impresses the coaches and the system suits him, he could slot in alongside his friend in the Sounders’ starting XI on a regular basis. The team can use as much creativity and skill around the penalty box as it can get.
It’s been pretty obvious that the Sounders’ goal was to sign two players like they have, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule out another smaller move before the summer transfer window closes. Based on the amount of time left and the cap flexibility that the Sounders have, Lagerwey said, “Don’t rule anything out, particularly within the league.” But the club got their main man in Lodeiro and an excellent squad player in Fernandez. Will they be the spark that the Sounders’ season so desperately needs? Like Lagerwey said, I wouldn’t rule anything out.
Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.