SEATTLE - OCTOBER 15: A general view during the match between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field on October 15th, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Earthquakes 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
An interview with an Austrian sports magazine website confirms that there is mutual interest between the Sounders and the former Austrian international.
Austrian magazine Sport10 has an interview with Skoda Xanthi and former Austrian international goalkeeper Michael Gspurning in which he confirms that he is in contract negotiations with the Seattle Sounders. Gspurning was in Seattle for a CONCACAF Champions League game (most likely the second leg of the qualifier against San Francisco of Panama) and was apparently impressed with the team, the organization and the city. Here's a link to the original interview, here's a link to a Google translation and here's a link to a more accurate (though less hilarious) partial translation from a Sounder At Heart reader.
Gspurning says pretty much all of the right things in the interview, a marked contrast to the kinds of things certain other established European players have said in non-English interviews ahead of a transition to MLS. The 30-year-old keeper is quite clear in insisting that he would be coming to Seattle to play in a competitive environment rather than for an easy payday. Gspurning also talks about the ways in which the Greek economic and political situation has influenced his decision, and that (and similar) issues are likely things MLS teams are keeping under close watch.
While no deal has been signed (and it's unlikely that will change before the MLS Expansion Draft on November 23rd) this interview is the strongest signal yet that the Sounders are deep in talks with Gspurning. Given that goalkeeper is the position of most pressing need this off-season, that's very good news; the sooner a successor for Kasey Keller is found the better as it gives the Sounders a better idea of the financial flexibility they have make upgrades and patch other holes on the roster. Even if talks with Gspurning fall through, the apparent legitimacy of these rumors seems to suggest that Seattle's focus is outside of domestic targets (which would likely necessitate giving up resources beyond salary) and that a deal to bring Everton and US international Marcus Hahnemann back to Seattle is at this point unlikely.