It resembles the Seattle Sounders may have signed the defensive midfielder they have apparently been trying to signal the majority of the offseason. Reports outside of Brazil — that are coming from the club suggest they are close to finalizing a move for Botafogo’s Joao Paulo, a participant they have been connected with since at least December.

The reports also appear to indicate the deal has been structured in a manner that would potentially allow Joao Paolo not to count as a designated player. While that does not leave a bunch of room to prevent DP status under present rules – $1.53 million in cap hit annually — this may imply some changes to how the CBA manages those economics.

Joao Paulo, it ought to be said, isn’t a prototypical defensive midfielder. He’s usually played further up the pitch but has powerful defensive numbers. The 28-year-old is coming off a year where he averaged 2.5 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game.

He does that while still offering powerful offensive numbers. Joao Paulo logged 1.2 important passes on about 47.4 moves per game while scoring three goals with two assists in 36 top flight looks. Svensson averaged about.6 important moves and Roldan averaged 1.2. Notably, half of Roldan’s six goals came in only seven starts on the right-wing.

The strategy, it would appear, would be for Joao Paulo to be paired with Svensson from the defensive midfield and proceed Roldan into the wing. If the move is finished shortly, Joao Paulo would probably join the Sounders while they’re in Southern California. That would leave centre-back as the primary place of need at this time.