UPDATE: The Sounders just released the official announcement, Freddie Ljungberg has been traded to the Chicago Fire for a conditional draft pick in either 2011 or '12. The move also allowed the Sounders to move Alvaro Fernandez to the active roster.
The Internet is going crazy with Sounders rumors right now, all of them tied to Freddie Ljungberg's supposed trade to the Chicago Fire.
According to several sources, most reliably Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times, Ljungberg is -- amazingly -- staying in MLS. I don't know how the idea of him going somewhere like Chicago escaped my imagination, but this seems like a reasonably good fit. I don't think it gets him any closer to the playoffs, but his starting job is probably more secure and he's moving to a bigger market. No news yet on what the Sounders would be receiving in return, but this would clear up plenty of space for Alvaro Fernandez, as well as make signing a third Designated Player a possibility.
In related news is the report that the Sounders have offered a DP contract to Fredy Montero. The source is not nearly as firm as Mayers, but they are the same people who correctly broke the story that Luis Gil was going to either Salt Lake or Seattle.
Mayers also says that a formal announcement will be made later today, so that should be worth watching. I'm sure if there's anything official, we'll be able to get that for you.
Full release after the jump
RENTON, WASH. - Freddie Ljungberg, an MLS Best XI selection and two-time All-Star midfielder for the Seattle Sounders FC, has been traded to the Chicago Fire today in exchange for a conditional selection in the 2011 or 2012 SuperDraft.
Ljungberg, 33, led Seattle and finished fourth in MLS with nine assists in 2009. He was named the MLS October Player of the Month after assisting on the team's final four goals of the regular season, helping the Sounders FC reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in the club's inaugural season. Ljungberg was also a finalist for MLS Newcomer of the Year.
"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," said Adrian Hanauer, general manager. "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."
Said Ljungberg: "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. 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."
In a related move, Sounders FC has added midfielder Alvaro Fernandez, 24, to the active roster. Fernandez, a member of the Uruguay National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, was acquired on Thursday and has received his International Transfer Certificate. He is now eligible to play on Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Ljungberg was signed as Seattle's first Designated Player on October 28, 2008. He came to Sounders FC after 10 seasons in the English Premier League. In his nine years with Arsenal he was a member of teams that won two EPL titles, three FA Cups and a UEFA Champions League final appearance.
This season the former Swedish international played in each of the first 15 Sounders FC matches (starting 14) and contributed three assists. Altogether over the two seasons he played in 37 matches (starting 35), scoring two goals and adding 12 assists.