Fredy Montero's status as one of the greatest players in Seattle Sounders' MLS history is unquestioned. Although Raul Ruidiaz is in hot pursuit, he is currently the club's all-time leading goalscorer with 76 goals.
Regardless, Montero's future with the Rave Green is now very much up in the air. As per the club's communications department, it has been confirmed his contract option for 2023 has been declined.
As the two sides attempt to negotiate terms, it is worth a reminder that Montero was one of nine players the Sounders left unprotected for last Friday's expansion draft. As much as there was little chance of St Louis selecting him, it is still some indication of where the club's priorities lie.
Despite active discussions between the Seattle Sounders and Fredy Montero, recent events could allude to the franchise's all-time leading goalscorer being set to move on to pastures new.
It this respect, Seattle also announced they have exercised the 2023 contract option for fellow forward Sam Adeniran. He recently finished a loan spell with San Antonio FC, helping them win the USL Championship with a club-leading 12 goals.
Despite seeing no MLS action in 2022, Adeniran earned $65,500. Combined with his age of 24, you can understand the Sounders wanting to secure the services of a younger and cheaper option up front.
There is little doubt of Seattle's desire to improve the roster, despite becoming the first MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League. The trade-off was they didn't make the playoffs for the first time since entering the league in 2009.
In respect of the attack specifically, Will Bruin will not be back next year. As things stand, the only three forwards the Sounders have on their roster are Jordan Morris, Ruidiaz and Adeniran.
Weighing up the pros and cons
In fairness to Montero, there is a chance he will be back in Seattle for the 2023 campaign. His veteran experience and goal-scoring instinct can still theoretically provide the club with some reliable and invaluable depth.
Even at 35 years old he remains fit, albeit there is no doubting he isn't the player he used to be. The question is, what does last season's production mean for him?
Consider that Montero had career MLS lows of four goals and two assists as he made 26 appearances, including 12 starts. The year before, he had seven goals and six assists in 29 games, including 15 starts.
If the Sounders can get the 2021 version of the Colombia native, he's definitely worth a new deal. However, if this past season represents his decline as a player, it might be better to look elsewhere for attacking options.
Montero will never be forgotten for everything he has achieved in Seattle. However, supporters may have to accept the club legend has played his last ever game for the Sounders.
What would you do with Montero if you were in the Seattle Sounders' position? Would you bring him back next season or not, and why? Let us know in the comments section below.