When we heard that Freddie Ljunberg was “exploring his options” regarding a possible move away from Seattle Sounders FC, we assumed that meant he was looking at a return to Europe.
We thought he had become disgruntled not just with Seattle management but also with his MLS adventure in general.
Apparently the latter was not the case: On Friday, Ljunberg became the first Designated Player in MLS history to be traded, going to the Chicago Fire in exchange for a conditional SuperDraft pick (in either 2011 or 2012).
The trade gives Chicago two D.P.s (the other being recently inked Mexican playmaker Nery Castillo) and allows Seattle to avoid paying the luxury tax for having three.
The Sounders just welcomed Swiss international striker Blaise Nkufo into the fold, and on Thursday, signed midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, who played in four World Cup games for semifinalists Uruguay this summer. Both signings are D.P.s.
If Ljungberg is rejuvenated in the Windy City, Chicago could have one of the league’s best midfields with him, Castillo, All-Star Marco Pappa, and speedster Patrick Nyarko all available for selection, and John Thorrington looking to come off the injured list soon.