Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer just met with the media for 20-25 minutes regarding the Shalrie Joseph deal. Here is some of what he had to say:
On using a designated player slot: It was effectively the only way to get the deal done. But all in all, we’re very happy with the deal – otherwise we wouldn’t have done it. We realize that gives us three designated players, between Mauro, Christian and Shalrie; but we also have two weeks left and we still have the ability to buy a player out if we decide to do that to open up a slot for a regular-salaried player or a designated player slot if that were something we decided to do. We rather have not absorbed the designated player slot, sure. But it was the only way to get the deal done. … As part of this deal, we’re not going to give details, but we are absorbing some of the salary-cap charge and Chivas is holding some of the salary cap charge. So, though he shows up on our books as a salary-cap player, the full cap charge is not hitting us, which was a very important piece of this working for us as well.
On the important of getting the No. 3 allocation slot: For us, that’s huge. To some degree we’re taking our chances with it, but you guys know well and good that around this time last year we were trading Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito to get Eddie Johnson through the allocation process. So sometimes a player comes through that may not be a big-time player, but sometimes players some through that are big, important players. We obviously picked up Marcus through allocation. We picked us Kasey through allocation. So those are all important players to our team. And now that we know we’re third in the ranking we can get out there and try to prime the pump a little bit. I guess it’s a little bit of an announcement to national team players around the world or players that have left our league by being sold out of the league that the Sounders are third in line, and I imagine there are some players out there who’d like to come play for the Sounders, and maybe the timing is such so that when we’re first there is a big important player we can bring to our team.
On Joseph’s appeal: The things that we still like and that we felt would be particularly useful to our team is his versatility – he can play anywhere through the middle of the park. He’s done well as a forward, he’s obviously done extremely well as an attacking midfielder, he’s done well in the holding midfield position and he did OK at centerback. So there’s that. The second thing is he provides a great deal of leadership and experience. He’s played in championship games, is a very good organizer on the field, and he’s also a fantastic passer of the ball, very good vision, great on set pieces, in the air, wins his duels in the middle of the park. So we need to get him fit and get his legs under him a little bit, but we expect he’s going to contribute significantly.
On Sigi Schmid’s implication after recent trail that deal probably wouldn’t get done: I don’t want to put words in Sigi’s mouth. We’ve always liked Shalrie. We liked him when he came and was with us for a couple of days. He fit right on the field and with the guys. That said, he isn’t particularly fit right now. I think he would admit it. We certainly wanted him, but we weren’t sure we were going to be able to work out a deal with Chivas. So legitimately we weren’t certain that we would be able to get a deal done, but we certainly wanted to get a deal done.
What position is foreseen: Not my department. We want to get him in here, get him fit, take a look. We’ve got a lot of games early in the season, and again his versatility is something that we really value. We’ll get him in and see where we end up fitting him in.
Importance of being ready to move in summer transfer window: It’s pretty important to us. We made a commitment to our fans in December that we were going to go out and spend money on a big DP. Those plans haven’t changed. But the reality is that that meeting where we talked about that was two months ago, and the type of players we’re talking about done grow on trees. … Player of that ilk that are checking the boxes that we want checked aren’t a dime a dozen. That’s not to say that we don’t have some in our crosshairs, but sometimes good things take time.
Are things on red alert to try to make another major move before start of season: Red alert, no. I guess without jumping too far ahead of things, I think there’s a high likelihood that Djimi Traire will be with our team as well. So that’s another center back, and then Shalrie is a player who can fill a lot of different roles. But I’d be lying if I said we’re not also very interested in acquiring another forward. And I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a player who could potentially fill that designated player position, of which we’ve got three right now. That kind of gives you a heads up that we are considering all of our options over the next couple of weeks.
If this is viewed as stand-alone move, or part of bigger plan to come: Unfortunately for you I’m going to answer that if this is part of a bigger plan, we will tell you as the pieces of that plan unfold.
If Javier Saviola is potential Sounders DP target: Saviola is a fantastic player. We rate him very highly. I believe he was discovered by another team in our league. There are a lot of great players out there who we’d love to have on this team, but at this time there are no conversations and no progress directionally for Saviola playing for the Sounders.
On concern things so unsettled so close to CCL: I’d be lying if I said I wish on Jan. 19 or whenever we started preseason that we didn’t have our squad completely settled. But I knew that this year was going to be a tough one. Unfortunately it coincides with a big Champions League quarterfinal. But our big goal is MLS Cup, and so we were willing to sacrifice a little bit on the front end to make sure that we had things sorted come the summer as we head into the playoff hunt and hopefully tracking down an MLS Cup.
Must current DP move on before another can come in? If we were to sign another DP in the next two weeks, then yes, we have to move one of the exisiting DPs on, or renegotiate a salary in a way that works. And the same would be said for the summer. If we start the year with three DPs and we want to bring one in the summer, the same sort of issue applies. The key difference is up until March 2 we can buy out one player on our roster. After March 2 we can’t do that anymore.
More to come.