Now the big news. From Marco Cummings on Twitter (Cummings has covered the Rapids at time for both the Post and MLSSoccer.com):
REPORT: #Rapids96 Claudio Lopez "confirms" Colorado Rapids "in talks" with Real Sociedad and Carlos Vela http://bolavip.com/182033/piojo-claudio-lopez-confirmo-que-colorado-rapids-esta-negociando-con-carlos-vela-real-sociedad … #MLS #MEXThis is the first "on-record" confirmation that we have that the Rapids are really working on getting Vela. In reality, this is the first "on-record" confirmation that the Rapids have ever been going after a name of the stature of Vela's. This alone is a huge step for the club.
If you feed the link above through a translator you'll see that Real Sociedad is asking for 15 million Euros (about 16 million dollars) for Vela, since they have him under contract through the 2017-18 season. This would be, by far, the biggest transfer fee ever paid by MLS (the current record is $10 million for Michael Bradley). My bet is that a large part of the negotiations is working on getting that number down to something closer to Bradley's number. Normally on transfer fees the club pays the transfer fee but for certain "key" DPs the league has stepped in and covered part or all of the transfer fee. They did so for players like Bradley, Dempsey, Valeri, and Gaby Torres. I would expect the league to do something similar here if a deal is reached. That still leaves a multi-million dollar salary that KSE will be paying.
This is a deal the Rapids must get done. This team has historically over-promised and under-delivered. They've now made it official that they are willing to spend big money for a big player. Coming off our worst two-season run in team history this is the type of signing this team needs. Even if he's not worth $20 million in transfer fee and salary on the field (or whatever they negotiate ti down to) he's worth it off the field in sponsorship revenue, ticket sales, jersey sales, and as an indicator to the fan base the the Rapids are doing something to turn this ship around.
If Vela decides he doesn't want to come to MLS, fine. Sometimes the player just isn't interested. If that's the case though the Rapids MUST have a back up plan for another record (for the team) signing and they MUST get it done before the start of the 2016 season. They can't go on the record about Vela, fail to get him, and then sign nobody else of note before the season. That's just more of the same talk but no action this team has historically shown. There's NO excuse for Vela to play for another MLS team next year. Paul Bravo has confirmed that the Rapids have the first Discovery claim on Vela. We now know we're in negotiations with Vela. If Vela were to end up somewhere else in the league it would be a complete failure by the Front Office.