The move that has been rumored for more than a week was made official today as the Sounders announced the signing of Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg. He has spent the last four years with Swedish Allsvenskan side BK Hacken, spending time on the left side and in the middle.
"Erik is a player who who brings an honest work rate and flair to our midfield," said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in a team release. "He has a nonstop engine and is versatile with the ability to play in the middle of the park or wide on occasion. His passing will help diversify our attack in 2011."
Friberg's signing was made possible when the Sounders cleared some international roster slots when Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo, Steve Zakuani and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado all received green cards in the last couple of months. How he'll fit under the salary cap is less clear, but chances are the Sounders don't have to be cap compliant until the season starts anyway. There's also a possibility much of his salary will be covered by allocation dollars. He's listed as having a transfer value of almost $1 million, so this wouldn't seem to be the kind of player you bring it at the league minimum.
In the meantime, the Sounders appear to have another player that will compete for minutes in the midfield. He'll join Alvaro Fernandez, Steve Zakuani, Brad Evans, Mike Fucito and Osvaldo Alonso in what should be a lively battle for minutes.
"Erik is a tactically smart midfielder and very versatile," Sounders technical director Chris Henderson said in the release. "He has good technique and a good soccer brain. We expect him to contribute and compete for a position centrally or wide."
Since the end of the season, the Sounders have lost Sanna Nyassi, Nathan Sturgis, Peter Vagenas and Tyrone Marshall, while adding Julien Baudet, Danny Earls, O'Brian White and Friberg.