International transfer deal in works for Sounders’ Yedlin

TUKWILA — DeAndre Yedlin will finish the 2014 season in Seattle. After that, however, the young Sounders star appears to be destined for a move to England.

Since his breakout performance in the 2014 World Cup, Seattle’s 21-year-old right back has been the subject of numerous transfer rumors linking him with top European clubs. Now it appears a deal in imminent, with Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer confirming that Yedlin missed Friday’s practice because he was overseas, “visiting with a big club in Europe.”

Because the deal has not been finalized, Hanauer wouldn’t name that big club, but according to multiple reports, the team in question is English Premier League side Tottenham, the London-based club that recently played Seattle in a friendly at CenturyLink Field. Sky Sports and Goal.com both reported Friday that Yedlin, who is from Shoreline and attended Seattle’s O’Dea High School, was in London and had passed a physical, the last step towards a deal that could be finalized as soon as Saturday.

“DeAndre is overseas,” Hanauer said after Friday’s practice. “Obviously we’re not going to give out a lot of detail. He’s visiting with a big club in Europe, and certainly we’re working towards a potential transaction. We expect DeAndre to be back for our game Sunday and for the rest of the season, and certainly we would announce anything in its entirely if and when it comes to fruition, but I’m not going to stand here and tell you he has a tight hamstring or something and that’s why he’s not out here.”

Hanauer even said that there’s a chance Yedlin stays in Seattle past the end of this season, though most of the speculation has been that Yedlin would finish the 2014 season, then join Tottenham in January. According to Sky Sports, the deal would pay the Sounders in the neighborhood of 2.5 million British pounds, or approximately $4.2 million.

“This will be a deal where he won’t be immediately transferred and loaned back,” Hanauer said. “It would be a deal that was constructed in a way that potentially he could be here through the end of the year, potentially longer.”

As for how the process has played out, Hanauer said the communication has been smooth between all parties involved. Yedlin was not available for comment, but has said in past interviews since the World Cup that his focus remains on this season with the Sounders, not a possible move overseas.

“Look, this is sort of the world we live in in our sport,” Hanauer said. “Interest comes in on players all the time; sometimes it’s more serious than others. We feel like we’re a pretty good communicating organization, so we have a good relationship with DeAndre’s representation. We have good relationships with the league and with clubs around the world, and as long as the right information is being communicated and everybody’s on the same page, things go pretty smoothly. We feel like that’s been the case here. Certainly for a young man like DeAndre, who’s just 21, this is a big, big time in his life, and certainly he might have a different perspective to mine in this, but I think our club does a pretty good job of staying pretty even-keeled and just kind of taking it as it comes.”

Assuming a move to Tottenham indeed is finalized soon, it would become the latest step in a remarkable journey for the Sounders’ first signing under the league’s “homegrown player” rule, who just a year and a half ago was a 19-year-old making his professional debut. Since March of 2013, Yedlin has become a two-time MLS All-Star, he played in the Under-20 World Cup, then became was a surprise inclusion on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 2014 World Cup roster, leading to him becoming a breakout star in Brazil.

Now all of that success has Yedlin on the verge of playing in one of the top leagues in the world.

Herald Writer John Boyle: jboyle@heraldnet.com.

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