It seems Seattle is a hotbed for gossip right now. Just after the Mariners had the baseball world a-twitter with two days worth of Cliff Lee talk, the Sounders now have tongues wagging about the status of Freddie Ljungberg.â†µ
Thanks to a bit of irresponsible reporting and speculation, followers of MLS are now debating whether or not Freddie Ljungberg is actually injured or is instead on his way to New York Red Bulls. See, Ljungberg rolled his ankle in training on Thursday. And then Adrian Hanauer, one of the Sounders owners, gave an interview in which he talked about wanting to bring in a new designated player. As far as I could tell, those things occurring back-to-back caused speculation as to whether Ljungberg would be traded to NYRB. From there, a national soccer blogger picked it up and ran with it, and now Seattle thinks it’s losing Ljungberg.â†µ
Although bringing Freddie to New York would hook him up with his former Arsenal teammate, Thierry Henry, and perhaps bring in fans to help fill the new Red Bull Arena, this rumor shouldn’t be given a second thought—except as a jumping off point to discuss Ljungberg.â†µ
While many have been disappointed by the Swedish midfielder’s performance this season, they are judging based on his past performance as an excellent player, not on the way a 33-year-old MLS player typically plays. Ljungberg still creates chances and provides assists. Although I enjoy seeing Miguel Montano, his red card last night, a hot-headed response to another player’s foul, showed that he’s not quite ready to be in the Sounders starting XI every week. I’m not a big fan of promoting “veteran leadership," but with a team as young as Seattle, having an older, experienced player is certainly an asset.â†µ
While I can think of a few other players I’d love to bring into the Sounders midfield, the problems Seattle are having are not the result of having Ljungberg around. There’s no good reason to trade him before his contract runs out at the end of the season. It may be fun to focus on new possibilities, and we certainly might be getting a new DP, but we’ll likely have a few more months of Freddie as well.