DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE: LJUNGBERG DRAMA

DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE: LJUNGBERG DRAMA

If, early in this 2010 Major League Soccer campaign, I told you a Seattle Sounders standout was discontented and looking to be transfered, you would have assumed I meant Fredy Montero.  The Colombian 23-year-old was visibly not interested on the field, while off the field rumors were circulate about a move to European club.

Now, approaching the midway point in the season, the Sounder most likely to want out of Seattle is designated player Freddie Ljungberg. The rumors are raging that Ljungberg is back in Sweden, and there is growing concern that he is not returning.

A move back to a European club is possible, as is a potential move to New York. If the Red Bulls are unsuccessful in landing Barcelona’s Mexican international midfielder Rafael Marquez, they may look to grab Freddie as quickly as they can.  New York boss Hans Backe is a big fan of Ljungberg and has made no secret of the fact.

Where the 33-year-old will end up is only half speculation.  What is more intriguing is how we got to this point.

Ljungberg practiced with the team last week, but didn’t play against FC Dallas, and didn’t make the trip to DC for Thursday Night’s showdown with United. In reality, Ljungberg hasn’t seen any game action since the Sounders were thrashed by the LA Galaxy on Independence Day.

“I gave Freddie the weekend off,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I know that we weren’t going to use him this weekend with the situation he was in. And so I just told him to have a weekend.”

What does Sigi mean by ‘the situation he was in’? It sounds a lot like Sounders brass attempting to appear as if they have control of a drama they don’t yet understand.

The ‘situation’ might not be Ljungberg’s ankle at all. According to Todd Dybas of the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s Sounders Blog, thewhole affair stinks

“Whatever the situation is, it’s becoming more odd. Whether he’s asked for it or not Ljungberg has operated in a way other players on the club have not during the final year of his two-year contract.

“He’s often separated from the group in small ways. Rests at practice even though he’s not injured. Let’s not forget his late arrival to camp this year that had captain Kasey Keller’s britches in a bunch.”

Perhaps more cryptically is Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer’s quote.

“I don’t anticipate the roster staying completely as it is,” Hanauer said. “There are internal things we can do then there are roster moves and certainly roster moves are something that we’re working on.”

If applied to the Ljungberg ‘situation’, the quote tells a much deeper story, one of discontent and poor performance.  Freddie Ljungberg’s on field numbers pale in comparrison to last season, but more than that, his performance in itself is not the same.

When asked about his ‘situation’ last week, Ljungberg was all business.

“We’ll see what happens.” Ljungberg told the Seattle Post. “It’s the transfer window and my contract is up here in November. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see.”

Not sure if you were counting, but Ljungberg said ‘We’ll see’ three times in a twenty-one word quote.

“Yeah, I’ve said before that I love Seattle.” Ljungberg continued. “The fans have been — I don’t even know how to describe it — they’ve taken me with open arms and been amazing, even when I walk down the street or in the stadiums, they cheer. I feel so welcome. There’s absolutely nothing I can complain about.”

‘We’ll see’ indeed.

Seattle’s newest designated player Blaise Nkufo waiting to take the field and receive the love of the Seattle faithful, Freddie may just find himself replaced as the Sounders favorite son.  For the Sounders, with a glamor friendly against Scotland’s super club Glasgow Celtic today and CONCACAF Champions League fixtures looming and MLS play continuing to slump, sorting out this situation has become something of an imperative if a season is to be salvaged.

READ…D.P. UPDATE-FIRE SIGN NERY CASTILLO

READ… D.P. UPDATE-WIZARDS SIGN OMAR BRAVO

READ…LAST WEEK’S DESIGNATED PLAYER WATCH

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2 Responses to “DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE: LJUNGBERG DRAMA”

  1. DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE: KANSAS CITY SIGNS MEXICAN INTERNATIONAL OMAR BRAVO « GOODMAN BROWNE ON THE PITCH Says:

    […] READ…DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE-LJUNGBERG DRAMA […]

  2. JULY 17: DESIGNATED PLAYER WATCH « GOODMAN BROWNE ON THE PITCH Says:

    […] Things North American Soccer « FIRE SIGN DP – MEXICAN INTERNATIONAL NERY CASTILLO DESIGNATED PLAYER UPDATE: LJUNGBERG DRAMA […]

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