Chicago land Ljungberg as Seattle get draft pick
Chicago Fire have completed the signing of midfielder Freddie Ljungberg from MLS rivals Seattle Sounders, with the two-time MLS All-Star joining Nery Castillo as a designated player for the club.
Ljungberg had found himself becoming a bit-part player recently at the Sounders, who receive a conditional pick in either the 2011 or 2012 MLS draft as part of the deal.
The former Arsenal star became Seattle's first designated player in October 2008 and impressed in his first season - contributing nine assists in their inaugural campaign.
But he hasn't been able to replicate his form this season, and had become increasingly marginalised - drawing criticism from Sounders coach Sigi Schmid for spending too much time complaining to officials. For the past few weeks he had been training alone while he recovered from an ankle injury.
But, revealing Ljungberg's departure, Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauser was full of praise for the contribution of the midfielder, who commanded a $1.3 million salary.
"Freddie is a tremendous individual and an exceptional player who contributed greatly to the huge success of Sounders FC, both on and off the field, in the past year and a half," Hanauer said.
"Freddie, along with Kasey Keller, gave this club immediate stature in the world's game, and we are grateful for his service. We wish him all the best in Chicago."
And Ljungberg was also keen to insist that he departed Seattle on good terms, thanking the club's fans for their support during his time at Qwest Field.
"I want to start off by saying how proud I am to have been part of the most successful new franchise in MLS history, the Seattle Sounders FC," Ljungberg said.
"I didn't know exactly what to expect when I first came to Seattle but I have to say that how the city and the fans have embraced me has gone beyond my wildest dreams and for that I am forever grateful.
"I also want to thank my teammates who are absolutely great on and off the pitch. I have made some very close friends who I know I will be in contact with forever."