Even more surprisingly than he left, defender Joevin Jones is returning to the Seattle Sounders.
Jones was a pivotal part of Seattle’s MLS Cup team in 2016 before he left the team to join German club Darmstadt 96 after some awkward incidents that seemed to indicate a rift between player and club. However, all that seems to be in the past as Jones is reportedly on his way back to the Rave Green.
Originally reported by German outlet Bild and corroborated by Sam Stejskal of The Athletic, the Sounders will pay a transfer fee of $150,000 – deferred until January of 2020 – and way pay Jones using Targeted Allocation Money.
During his initial time with the Sounders, Jones scored three goals and registered twelve assists in 63 games. Jones also started strong for Darmstadt, scoring four goals and an assist in his first half season, playing as much more of a winger instead of the left back position he played for Seattle. However, he lost his starting spot halfway through his second season and eventually fell out of rotation.
The decision is somewhat curious from the Sounders side since the team already has, arguably, two of the best left backs in MLS. However, starter Brad Smith is still on loan from Bournemouth and the Sounders do not own his rights. Backup and spot starter – and fan favorite – Nouhou has received a lot of attention from European clubs and it’s possible the Sounders could look to send him off in exchange for a large transfer fee. A Nouhou move seems more likely as the team seems very high on Smith, and the feeling appears to be mutual. Nouhou would no doubt like a chance to showcase his talents in a higher league. It’s also possible that Jones could see some time on the wing as he did not only for Darmstadt but also his first campaign in Seattle.
In other Transfer Day news, the Sounders have also reportedly signed Barcelona center back Xavier Arreaga. Arreaga, a 24 year old Ecuadorian, is listed at 6’0″ and can play either center back position. Scouting reports list him as aggressive, physical, and fast. However, they also state that he has some issues with long-range passing. However, Seattle tends to play out of the back more often than not so that may not be as big of a hindrance as it could be. This move makes some sense for Seattle with some uncertainty surrounding Roman Torres, who has been named in trade rumors as well as reports of wanting to move back to his native Panama.
The Sounders currently sit at 5-4-1 with 19 points, which is good enough for fourth place in the Western Conference. They will next play the Houston Dynamo (also sitting at 19 points) this Saturday at CenturyLink Field. That game will start at 7:00 pm Pacific Standard Time and will be broadcast locally on JoeTV and streaming on YouTube TV.