I’m done trying to figure out when the Sounders are going to finish their search for centre back depth. I had thought the day before they head into a game with the Timbers they would have an idea of who they all wanted to evaluate. Well, I guess they technically do. Just the individuals we had thought they would be evaluating has changed.
It appears that today the Sounders had guest Djimi Traore, a 32 year-old defender, formerly of French Ligue 1 and the English Premier League.
This doesn’t mean a whole lot. Looking at it from a front office perspective they’re always looking to get the very best person they can for the job. That’s not going to change once they have Patrick Ianni and that wouldn’t change if they went and pulled out a Omar Gonzalez. They are searching for the next best piece that fits into the line-up. That will challenge and push their teammates.
Traore isn’t just a centreback. He’s a dual loveable treat in the vein of marshmallow rice crispy that has plenty of experience at left back as well giving him his gooey and versitly trait so often desired by Sigi Schmid. While still providing that crunch in that needed backline.
Me and my ever turning brain, would love to use this as a means to jump headlong into speculative moves. I’ll resist that for now. That said, the Sounders have a need to find someone like Traore, a solid veteran, that can come in over the next 4 weeks, acclimate to the surroundings and then become cheap replacement option for Leo Gonzalez.
Taking a look below you can see the Traore track record…
|2001–2002||→ Lens (loan)||19||(0)|
|2008||→ Rennes (loan)||15||(0)|
|2009||→ Birmingham City (loan)||3||(0)|
Big shout out to Wikipedia for the information above, as well as the nice clean table. There is plenty of high level experience but the biggest thing you’ll notice is the dwindling of games. According to Transfermarket.co.uk he’s actually only played roughly 1000 minutes between 2010-12 seasons. That doesn’t bode well for a season in a league that is notriously more physical and has harsher heat extremes than what he’s used too. But the lingering injury issue is a large reason why he’s coming to MLS, despite his pedigree.
Traore instantly has a fast track to that 3rd centreback job, but the real question, is this front office continually going to build their team around high risk/high-reward type guys? There is something to be said about the Marc Burch/Mason Trafford slightly better than replacement options that can easily give you 2-3,000 minutes if needed.
Considering the the possibility that they could add draft pick Dylan Remick to the senior roster it wouldn’t be the worst thing to go the risky route. But consider the past issues with Hurtado, the problems now with Ianni and the recent tattered history of Traore. It does leave questions about what and who that fourth centreback is going to be as they might get to him quicker than you think. It might still put a bit of pressure on stud first round pick Eriq Zavaleta and that’s not necessarily a bad thing either.