Breaking down the new Sounders star

So it's been official for a few days now - Swedish soccer star Freddy Ljungberg has been signed to the Sounders FC for two years, and will be the attacking midfielder in what should be an attack-minded formation. To Freddy, should you read this (hah), I welcome you to our fine city, hope you enjoy your time here and with the Sounders and look forward to watching you play in April.

Alright, enough pleasantries. His signing is a very high-risk, high-reward one. So how's he gonna do? Hard to say, obviously, but I think his acquisition is reminiscent of 3 major signings in MLS over the last year and half. Those would be Darren Huckerby, Marcello Gallardo and David Beckham. Take a little bit from each of those guys and you have a good approximation of what Ljungberg should be like in his time with the Sounders. Huckerby for his ability to light up an expansion team and be a tough team leader, Gallardo for his skill in central midfield - and also his liability to injury, and Beckham obviously for the star power and sexiness.

Now, there has been much discussion of Ljungberg's health, after being cut from his last employer, West Ham, while he was injured. That wasn't the only reason he was let go, however. Although it hasn't been widely reported, or indeed reported at all, this past summer Freddy was dealing with some very serious issues in his family back in Sweden, and reportedly he asked for his release. Out of respect for him I don't want to talk about those details, but the point is he shouldn't be as banged-up as most people think he is. He believes, anyway, that he is still not far removed from his peak as a player, and I have no reason to doubt him.

Should he go out due to injury, he will need a capable backup so the Sounders attack doesn't implode like Iceland's banking system. Ciaran O'Brien, who was loaned to the USL Sounders from Colorado (where he never plays), would seem to be a perfect fit. Go get him, Adrian!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Although Freddie has probably had his best years nearly a decade ago with Arsenal, it is hugely exciting that the Sounders have taken this gamble. I think that your original assessment of his impact being a combination of Beckham, Gallardo and Huckerby is pretty spot on, although he still has more talent then Huckerby, and in the slightly less hectic lcimes of MLS (compared with the Premier League), his skills will shine once more.
It would be at least a good game of spot-the-new-hairstyle.