SEATTLE -- Freddie Ljungberg is bypassing a chance to play in Europe and honoring the two-year contract he signed with the Seattle Sounders FC.
In a posting on his Web site Tuesday, Ljungberg said he intends on being back with the Sounders on Feb. 1. Ljungberg said late last week that playing in Seattle this season would depend on Major League Soccer and its players union avoiding a lockout and reaching a new labor contract before the current deal expires on Jan. 31.
Ljungberg hinted a new deal could be on the horizon, writing, "Based on the latest news I've heard from both sides, there won't be a lockout or strike on Feb 1. So from Feb. 1 I will be with my team in Seattle trying to help them become the best team in America."
The Swedish midfielder and Seattle's designated player was absent from the start of Seattle's training camp on Monday, seeming to draw the ire of coach Sigi Schmid and goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Ljungberg's name has been linked with a number of European teams and the transfer window for clubs in Europe closes on Sunday.
Ljungberg said the attention from Europe -- where he became a star with Arsenal -- is flattering.
"I have handled this situation with the respect and dignity that the Seattle fans deserve. I don't believe that players should look to manufacture moves to other clubs by involving the media, as this is disrespectful to their club and fans," Ljungberg wrote. "I hope you understand that this situation was out of my control but I can say that I am truly happy that it has been resolved and I will be returning to Seattle."
Ljungberg helped Seattle enjoy one of the most successful expansion seasons in MLS history in 2009. Ljungberg had two goals and nine assists as the Sounders became the first expansion franchise since 1998 to qualify for the MLS playoffs. Ljungberg was also an MLS all-star in his first season in America.
When he gets to Seattle, he may face discipline from the Sounders.
"It's not OK. It's something that we'll handle internally as a club in terms of whether there is fines or anything like that," Schmid said. "All of them would like to miss a week. We can't let them all miss a week. So from that standpoint we've got to hold them all to a standard."
Ljungberg said his absence was a "communication error due to the business discussions."