The A.J. Soares to Hellas Verona saga has taken yet another turn. According to Julian Cardillo of New England Soccer Today, Soares' future in Italy remains uncertain following a new snag in the defender's contract negotiations. Now more than ever, Soares' reuniting with the Revolution seems possible; if the center back returns to MLS, he will rejoin the Revolution, who retained his rights by offering him a contract at the end of 2014.
Confusion regarding Soares' move to Europe first surfaced in mid-January, when negotiations with Verona appeared to permanently end. Days later, both sides shook off all doubt and resumed talks, leaving supporters in a cloud of uncertainty. Cardillo's most recent report, however, sheds light on a development that appears nearly insurmountable. After the transfer window closed on Monday, a spokesperson from the Italian club denied the notion that Verona has plans to sign any additional players. Soares may still join Verona if he and his agent can re-structure a deal by February 28, though a "source with knowledge," as cited by Cardillo, turned this option a long shot, stating that Verona had stopped pursuing the former Revs' center back.
In his report, Cardillo introduced a second wrinkle, citing unique contract terms between Verona and former Red Bulls defender Rafael Marquez. The Mexican center back joined Verona last summer following the 2014 World Cup, at which point he signed a contract with a specific clause: if Verona signs another defender, even a free agent, Marquez will receive a significant sum of money. This clause serves as the likely cause of Verona's sudden disinterest in Soares, who would create an immediate financial burden for the Italian club.
If these reports prove accurate, it makes the possibility of Soares returning to Foxboro more likely than it has been in months, as it was all but assumed that Soares would sign in Italy weeks ago. His presence will add significant depth to a relatively shallow defensive unit. We've spent much of past few weeks speculating about Andrew Farrell's shift into the middle--and about the open right back spot--though Soares' return would instantly stall those conversations, allowing Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes and Jeremy Hall to battle for time off the bench. Without question, this development serves as best-case scenario for Jay Heaps and the Revolution.
What do you think? Have Soares' talks with Verona officially come to a halt, or will he strike a deal with the Italian club?