Ever since the Seattle Sounders revealed that Christian Tiffert had not joined the team in Arizona, speculation has started to build that something was amiss. What exactly that situation may be remains unclear, but Sigi Schmid gave strong indications on ExtraTime Radio that it's more complicated than a simple injury.
"Obviously Christian is not in camp right now," he said. "It's a situation that's in a process right now. It's something that Adrian Hanauer is dealing with and something that will get resolved in a short period of time."
Say what you will, but that sure doesn't sound as if Schmid is planning to go into 2013 with Tiffert on the roster.
There are several ways the Sounders could part ways with Tiffert.
The simplest, but most expensive, would be coming to an agreement on a buyout. That would probably cost the Sounders almost all of the roughly $700,000 they owe him, based on the most recent MLS Players Union salary data. Tiffert would then become a free and could seek work back in Europe.
The most preferable solution for the Sounders would probably be a transfer, which would at least save them some money. The problem here is that there are only a handful of federations with open windows, and Germany is not one of them.
The final possibility is that the Sounders could trade him within MLS. Considering Tiffert's age and performance, you'd have to imagine there's some market for him. But the Sounders would need to find someone willing to take Tiffert's DP tag as well as his salary, and that's a bit trickier. The Sounders were able to work a deal like this for Alvaro Fernandez, but the Uruguayan had the benefit of being several years younger.