The roster churn continues; this afternoon it was announced that the Seattle Sounders have transferred midfielder Erik Friberg to Swedish club Malmö FF. The terms of the transfer were not disclosed, but according to MLS policy the Sounders will receive two-thirds of the fee. A maximum of $650,000 of any transfer fee can be used as allocation money, and though the Sounders almost certainly will not receive that much in return for Friberg this move likely gives them a significant amount of financial flexibility. Based on the comments of General Manager Adrian Hanauer, it would appear as though Friberg's desire to move closer to home before the birth of his first child was a significant factor in the team's decision to part ways with the 25-year-old midfielder.
Friberg was a regular starter for the Sounders and his loss is a major blow to the team's midfield depth. Brad Evans is now the in-house favorite to start alongside Osvaldo Alonso in central midfield, and given his injury history the Sounders will likely want to add some quality depth at the position. There has also been speculation that a fully recovered Steve Zakuani could push Alvaro Fernandez to a more central role, but there are far too many unknowns involved to count on such a scenario.
For now, the Sounders have lost an important peripheral player and fan favorite. With careful trading there's a good chance that the loss can be offset and given the club's current financial flexibility there's a decent chance that a major, impact signing beyond what is currently expected (the re-signing of Mauro Rosales and addition of a new starting right back) is now possible. But as with any off-season that brings with it significant change, there will be an uneasy period as the plan takes shape. At the moment, the Sounders have lost many more players than they've brought in. Of the regulars they've parted ways with, only one has been replaced. The club and front office have more than earned the benefit of the doubt, but Sounders fans will feel far more at ease when a player or two comes back the other way,