Asked about the recent rumours linking the Rapids with a move for the former Arsenal attacker, who would cost around €15 million [£10.59 million] according to the Mexican football outlet, Lopez said: “Carlos Vela is of big interest to the Colorado Rapids.
“We are already in talks with Real Sociedad and the player.”
Vela has been strongly linked with a move to MLS since September, when the 26-year-old revealed that he considered “several offers” from US-based clubs in the summer.
Spanish newspaper El Confidencial later reported that the Mexico international is looking to leave Real Sociedad this winter, with the USA being his likeliest destination, before Rapids vice president of soccer operations Paul Bravo confirmed earlier this month that the club would have the first shot at signing him due to holding his discovery rights.
“We have the first crack at signing him,” Bravo told the Denver Post. “There’s a reason why he’s on our discovery list. We communicate that up as well when we do put players like that on because we don’t want to be frivolous about who we put on our discovery list.”
Nevertheless, while Vela may well be interested in joining Mexico teammate and LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos in MLS, whether the Rapids have the finances to make a deal happen remains to be seen.
The club have not traditionally been big spenders, having signed only three Designated Players in their history, and while the league itself would likely pay the majority of the reported transfer fee, his wage demands could also present a potential problem.
Kevin Doyle is currently Colorado’s highest-paid player, with an annual salary of $1.17 million [£776,196] in guaranteed compensation, but Vela’s demands would be somewhat steeper given the alleged European interest in his signature.
The former Gunners prospect is said to have turned down a summer move to West Ham United after the Hammers exercised a £21.4 million release clause in his contract [h/t Marca], which runs until 2018, but Calciomercato has since reported that manager Slaven Bilic is keen to revisit a deal in the near future.
At the same time, though, the increasing appeal of MLS cannot be underestimated, and if the Rapids or even another stateside club can come up with an enticing enough offer, then it would be no shock to see Vela head across the Atlantic in two months’ time.
As one of Mexico’s biggest stars, his signing would create a huge commercial windfall for someone like Colorado, but having also netted 57 goals in 166 games for Real Sociedad since arriving from Arsenal in 2012 on an initial loan deal which later became permanent, his impact on the pitch could be even more significant.