Freddie Ljungberg Makes Move To MLS
The Seattle Sounders FC, MLS’s newest team, has announced the signing of former Swedish International star Freddie Ljungberg. Ljungberg’s contract is for $2.5 million per season, and under MLS regulation, only a portion of Ljungberg’s salary will count against the club’s salary cap next season.
Ljungberg is 31 years old, stands at 5′ 9″ tall, and weighs 162lbs. Although small in stature, Ljungberg plans to do big things for Seattle and for the MLS. Many people thought the flashy midfielder could have continued to play in Europe for another 3-4 years, Ljungberg felt this was the right time to make the move.
“I figured if I’m going to take MLS seriously and want to make it a really good league and develop it, I should come now and not in three years’ time,” Ljungberg said.
Llungberg, a former Calvin Klein underwear model, was impressed that Sounders FC have already sold 17,000-plus season tickets and expects an electric atmosphere at the start of the season.
Ljungberg spent nine seasons at Arsenal, and was voted the 2002 Barclay’s Premier League Player of the Year and was voted as one of Arsenal’s top 50 players in history. In summer 2007 he was transferred to West Ham and was only able to muster 2 goals for the club, and was later released after suffering a rib injury.
Ljunberg has also represented Sweden in several World and European cups, and was twice voted as Sweden’s top footballer of the year. After seven months out of action, Ljungberg is hoping that a move to MLS will help him jumpstart his career and rebuild reputation.
Many critics have said that Ljunberg’s best days are over, and this is just another “has-been” signing by the MLS. Although many facts may indicate this to potentially be true, I believe that this signing may not raise the MLS to tops in the world, but it certainly will not hurt the league. This is just an indication that the league continues to attract proven talent from Europe, and is an indication that owners are willing to spend big dollars; which should excite any MLS fan.
Now the question that all North American soccer fans are asking is: who is next? Toronto FC have already promised their fans that they will sign a “designated player” before next season.