With the news that Christian Tiffert was in Seattle for a few days speaking to the Sounders and enjoying the action against Sporting KC and reports that interest from other German clubs is waning, it may be time to start figuring out who this man is. A deal is still a ways off, as there would be negotiations with Kaiserslautern to release Tiffert from his current deal which runs through next Bundesliga season. As we are prone to do around Sounder at Heart we lean on SB Nation's network of writers to find out more. Phillip writes at SBNation.com about the German league and has watched Kaiserslautern and Tiffert a handful of times.
I started out by asking for a basic scouting report:
Christian Tiffert is coming off of very tough season for Kaiserslautern where they were relegated after finishing at the bottom of table. With the departure of the previous season's leading goalscorer Srdan Lakic, Kaiserslautern simply failed to find the back of the net. They finished the season with only 24 goals scored which is the fewest of any Bundesliga team since Borussia Mönchengladbach managed only 23 in 2006-2007 season. The club's manager Marco Kurz bounced Tiffert around the midfield from the center to out wide in an attempt to find a way to spark the club's offense. As the club rotated between a 4-4-2, 4-1-4-1, and 4-2-3-1, Tiffert found himself playing five different positions, while still being the most dangerous player on the pitch. Tiffert, like his club, was much better in the previous season when he picked up 17 assists and 2 goals in a 7th place finish.
If played in the middle of the pitch, Tiffert is a competent playmaker and will make his team better. Tiffert also excels on the wing and was one of the most accurate passers over the last few seasons in Europe's top five leagues. His talents were forgotten last season at Kaiserslautern with the wasteful Dorge Kouemaha as his forward. If a move to Seattle materializes, he will be far more useful with the talented Fredy Montero as his target.
When asked which MLS player Tiffert's game most resembled the response was Brad Davis.
I think Christian Tiffert is a better Brad Davis. His crossing ability and set piece delivery are just as good in my opinion. I think Davis has a better shot than Tiffert, but I give Tiffert the advantage on a pure delivery from a set piece. He's a playmaker that's going to delivery a better pass rather than dribble his way through a defense.
While Davis and Tiffert spend inverse times centrally vs. on the wing, Phillip is talking about how he plays, not where.
The primary concern among Sounders fans is how much Tiffert would cost. Only estimates can be given. A transfer fee may be needed, and that would put him in a DP slot. Phillip provides his estimate for a salary;
He has the one year left on his contract, and Transfermarkt values him around €3.5 million. With Kaiserslautern being relegated, I'm sure there's a cheaper release clause in there somewhere. The real issue is figuring out his MLS value. I think a value of somewhere in the $200,000-$275,000 value is reasonable.
Christian Tiffert is not a shining European star signing like the rumors of Kaka or Michael Ballack. He's in that borderline DP area instead - a realm where Adrian Hanauer likes to play. From what SaH can learn about the player he would seem to slot into the role of a Brad Evans while providing the type of set-play and crossing service that is unique to only two players in the league. From on-field skills, if he can make the transition, Seattle could be adding that deep-lying playmaker that many fans have wanted for some time.
Can an upside of Brad Davis or David Beckham passing skills be enough to push this team forward and is it worth losing the services of a current player or two? Also, what would happen with the player bumped from the starting lineup?