The former Arsenal man has turned cold towards the Seattle Sounders and is “exploring options.” It appears that he maybe seeking a way out of the MLS.
Ljungberg last played for the Sounders on July 4th in their loss against the Galaxy and then replaced by Miguel Montano for the FC Dallas fixture a week later. Ostensibly, an ankle injury was the reason. But he was back in training that week but once again did not make it for the DC United match. He was not seen in training this last weekend and it was understood he was given “time off”
The league’s new arrivals got a huge boost from Ljungberg last season- he was one of the reasons for their stellar showing as the Sounders placed fourth overall and made the playoffs. He was the player of the month in October with four assists and was named to the MLS All Stars. The club’s red hot streak and record breaking attendances were reasons for optimism that soccer has its market if key demographics are taken into consideration.
This season has been a movement in the opposite direction as the club struggles at the bottom. One has this feeling that Ljungberg felt he was a cut above the rest and resented being lumped in with the rest for the club’s poor performances. He’s looked disinterested and his playmaking abilities have dried up. The club’s management has indicated that roster changes are on their way as the transfer window opens up. Ljungberg’s contract runs out in November which means that he could legitimately seek work elsewhere right now.
A note here. The club shows it means business when they put DP’s like Ljungberg on the dock. One of the quickest way of dispelling the “retirement” or “Mickey Mouse” tags that hang over the MLS is to demand demand performances worthy of the money that they pay hand over fist to get these overseas recruits. Subsequent replacements will come with the realization that the league is not to be trifled with. If Ljungberg departs, the club then has the option of going in for more DPs with the freed up money.
This is open to debate but the South and Central American DPs have proved to be better bets than the ones from Europe. Hopefully, Thierry Henry can prove us wrong.