UPDATE: For whatever reason, this rumor has taken on new life. Now a Greek publication is claiming the sticking point is an 8 million euro transfer fee. Going back to what Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said about the supposed $200,000 a week salary that Prince Tagoe was reportedly seeking, I think we can safely say that if the price to merely acquire Cisse's rights is about $12 million, we probably shouldn't be getting our hopes up. The rumored salary for Cisse is in the $3.5 million-a-year range, which would make him a roughly $7.5 million-a-year player. There's simply no way the Sounders, or probably any other MLS team, would be willing to pay that for a 29-year-old striker with limited name recognition. - Jeremiah
This one has been sort of floating around in the background for a bit, but this post at the ever reliable and always well-sourced MLS Rumors seems to have kicked the speculation up a notch. Here is the original article MLS Rumors references, dated May 28th.
On the face of it, Djibril Cisse is the kind of player I'd love to see the Sounders going after. He's not exactly young, per se, but at 29 he's far from old and washed up. He currently plays for Greek giants Panathinaikos and since arriving in 2009 his form has been incredible, scoring 47 goals in 60 games. His career includes stints with Auxerre, Marseille, Sunderland and Liverpool and it was with the Reds that Cisse suffered a horrific leg injury-so bad that he claims it might have led to amputation without less prompt attention-that kept him out of action for five months. Cisse fell out of favor with Rafael Benitiez (which might be less of an indictment and more of an an endorsement of the striker) and after breaking his leg yet again while playing for France ended up with Marseille.
No matter where he's gone, Cisse has been effective and while the injuries have clearly taken something from him, he's still a very good player with some good years left currently in fantastic form for a club that participated in the group stage of the 2010-11 Champions League. He has something of a reputation as an injury-prone player, but both of the major injuries he's suffered in his career were of the freak accident variety. Cisse has made it clear that he would like to leave Greece, primarily citing racism from Olympiacos supporters for his reason but also being very critical of the officiating in Superleague Greece.
There's some reason to believe that there's more to this link than most rumors; this rumor has been around in various forms for over a month now, the club has expressly not denied interest and Cisse is exactly the kind of player the Sounders have said they are pursuing (attack minded forward/midfielder types). What's more, Sounders officials have expressed an appreciation for his skillset. There are indications that there is some level of interest in MLS from Cisse and his representatives, and the LA Galaxy, the other club mentioned in the linked report, are at their DP limit.
Still, it's a rumor. And rumors should be taken with massive, American-Heart-Association-is-wagging-its-finger-at-you helpings of salt. Cisse has been linked to the Sounders for well over a month now with a single source being used and unconfirmed. That's not to say that it couldn't happen, and believe me when I say that I'd love nothing more. But if it doesn't, it doesn't mean the Sounders "cheaped out" or "couldn't close the deal" or any similar nonsense. Rumors are fun, and sometimes they'll give you a little heads-up or at the very least allow you to dream for a bit. But when people start treating them as fact and letting them dictate their opinion of the front office, they can become destructive.