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China pipeline flows both ways, Sounders set to sign Sweden int'l

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Gustav Svensson has reportedly signed with the Sounders to provide defensive midfield depth.

AIK vs IFK Goteborg - Allsvenskan Photo by Marcus Ericsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

To call the defensive midfield position an area of weakness for the Seattle Sounders would be absurd. Osvaldo Alonso and Cristian Roldan are, after all, one of the top pairings in MLS.

But behind them? That’s a different story. As the team leaves for Tucson, Ariz., there’s not a single player on the roster with significant top-flight experience as a defensive midfielder.

That may be about to change. Reports out of Sweden are saying the Sounders have already agreed to sign 29-year-old Gustav Svensson to a two-year deal. (UPDATE: ESPN is reporting that the deal is close to finalized but that nothing has been actually signed, yet.) The six-time capped Sweden international started all but two games for Guangzhou R&F last year, but is the victim of China’s new, restrictive roster rules. There had been discussions about Svensson returning to Sweden’s IFK Gothenburg — where he was a longtime teammate of former Sounders right back Adam Johansson — but he apparently wanted to stay abroad a little longer.

“It feels very good,” Svensson told Swedish paper Expressen. “It’s a nice town and a wonderful atmosphere. A big and good club and I'm sick inspired by what I have seen so far. The stands are over 40,000 spectators per game. This is a good deal for all parties, all three are winners can say.”

Svensson seems to be exactly the kind of player who fits onto the Sounders roster nicely. Assuming he’s fine with coming off the bench, Svensson should be able to provide a little extra depth at both center back and defensive mid without breaking the bank.

Svensson will be the fourth Swedish player the Sounders have signed since 2009, joining Johansson (2012), Erik Friberg (2011, 2015-16) and Freddie Ljungberg (2009-10).