The Seattle Sounders completed the transfer of new Designated Player Raul Ruidiaz from Liga MX side Monarcas Morelia Friday. Ruidiaz, 27, will not be able to play for Seattle until after the MLS secondary transfer window opens July 10.
The striker is rumored to be Seattle’s second most-expensive transfer ever, after Clint Dempsey’s fee from Tottenham in the English Premier League. The Sounders are reportedly paying Monarcas about $7 million for Ruidiaz, who will also receive close to $14 million from the club for three and a half years, running through the end of the 2021 season.
The Sounders teased Ruidiaz’s arrival in heavy-handed fashion Thursday. The news broke that the club was pursuing the Peruvian several weeks ago, but the club remained mum even after his Mexican club published a farewll message to Ruidiaz. Thursday though, the club released a video teasing the signing titled “El Nuevo Nueve” that showed a number nine being pressed on to a Sounders jersey, with the letter z clearly visible at the end of the player’s name. The real sledgehammer was the use of the Peruvian national anthem as the video’s music.
Ruidiaz himself teased the signing earlier in the week, posting a picture to his Instagram account that Internet sleuths deduced suggested he was staying in a Bellevue hotel on the east side of Lake Washington.
Though he will be unable to play for the club until its July 15 match against Atlanta United, Ruidiaz arrives to a Sounders team in need of a big boost. Following a season-ending ACL tear to Jordan Morris in the CONCACAF Champions League in February, the club found itself without a fast striker who could stretch out back lines. Opposing defenses have keyed on this throughout the season, clamping down around the 18 and forcing the club to try speculative long balls in to a marked Will Bruin, limiting the club to 11 goals in 14 matches.
Ruidiaz should change that equation for Seattle. The forward has scored 20 goals in each of his last two Liga MX campaigns with Monarcas and seems capable of receiving long balls despite his five-foot-seven frame.
The striker came straight to Seattle following Peru’s elimination from the World Cup in Russia, where he played a total of 13 minutes for his national team across two substitute appearances.