Vancouver Whitecaps near deal to sign ex-Sounder Fredy Montero - sources

Former Seattle Sounders forward Fredy Montero is close to returning to Major League Soccer, multiple league sources confirmed to ESPN FC, with the Vancouver Whitecaps primed to capture the Colombian's signature.

Colombian outlet El Heraldo earlier reported the news on Montero, who currently plays for Tianjin Teda in the Chinese Super League. The Whitecaps deal would be for an initial one-year loan, sources said.

Because Montero was officially transferred out of MLS in 2014, he is subject to the league's allocation order. One source indicated that Vancouver had a deal in place to obtain the top spot via a trade with Minnesota United, though what the Whitecaps would part with in terms of assets is unknown at this point.

Montero, 29, is well known to MLS fans after spending four seasons with the Sounders from 2009-12, scoring 60 goals in 160 league, playoff, and cup appearances.

In 2013, Montero returned to his native Colombia for a solitary season on loan with Millonarios, before spending parts of three seasons with Portuguese side Sporting, where he scored 37 goals in 94 league and cup appearances. Montero was on loan initially, but was officially transferred to Sporting in early 2014.

It was just over a year ago that Montero then made a big money move to Tianjin, with his transfer fee reportedly €5 million. In his one season with Tianjin, Montero scored nine goals in 30 league and cup appearances.

At the international level, Montero has made four appearances for Colombia without scoring a goal.

Acquiring a center-forward has been a huge priority for Vancouver this offseason. Octavio Rivero was sold to Chilean side Colo Colo in the middle of last season, and Blas Perez went to Bolivia at the conclusion of the campaign.

Vancouver's pursuit of Montero comes as the Chinese Super League has increased restrictions on foreign players. The CSL used to allow teams to sign five foreigners, with one of those having to come from a country within the Asian confederation. Teams could field three foreigners plus the Asian foreign player.

Now teams can field just three foreigners at one time, regardless of where they hail from.