Freddie Ljungberg has become the latest big-name player to move to Major League Soccer after signing to play for the Seattle Sounders.
The 31-year-old former Arsenal and Sweden star has made a two-year commitment to the MLS newcomers in a deal reported to be worth $5m a year. He had been without a club since leaving West Ham by mutual consent over the summer.
“I’m really happy to be here, I feel so welcomed by everybody.
I’m coming here because I want to play football and I see this as a great experience and I want to make it a better league and develop it.
I felt if I was going to do this as a sincere thing, I should go now. I shouldn’t go in three years when I’m past my peak.
I wanted a new experience and I think it will be good for me.”
He’s already past his peak but if he can stay fit and bring a spark to the Sounders’ inaugural season then it will be job done – and at the very least he should be able to do more in Seattle than he did at West Ham.
The Sounders are backed by Roth and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, as well as a number of minority owners including comedian Drew Carey. Seattle will join MLS next season as the league’s 15th team and they have already sold more than 17,000 season tickets.
Ljungberg joins former Tottenham and Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Kasey Keller – a Seattle native – as well as midfielder Sanna Nyassi and striker Sebastien Le Toux as the only players on the club’s roster at present.
They will acquire more players when an expansion draft is held on 26 November.