The Seattle Sounders really should figure out how to bring back Erik Friberg. It fits on so many levels that I've almost convinced myself that it might even happen.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, though, let me start by saying I have literally no information that makes me believe that this is going to happen. The only reason I'm even suggesting it is because of a kinda random tweet that was sent out today.
@joshuamayers what date is the MLS finals?— Erik Friberg (@erikfriberg8) July 16, 2013
I have no real idea why Friberg was asking, but it did get me thinking: What if the Sounders were interested in bringing him back? (Editor's note: Apparently he's going to be in town for a wedding.)
Let's just assume that Friberg is at least open to the idea, which probably isn't a given. Malmo, his current team, is currently playing in Europa League and just advanced to the second round by beating Ireland's Drogheda FC. They'd still need to get through three more rounds before even reaching the group stage, but competing in European competition is probably a pretty decent draw.
Malmo is also fighting for a Champions League spot, as they are currently leading the Allsvenskan about midway through their season. Friberg is having a solid, if not necessarily spectacular, season with three goals and 14 starts in 16 matches.
The pull of European competition aside, I could see Friberg entertaining the idea. He was lured to MLS from Sweden once before and I would imagine that whatever seemed appealing then would still be the case. The main reason he moved back home, after all, was to be around for the birth of his first child. That child is probably approaching its second birthday and moving to the United States might not be as inconvenient as it once was.
Putting those issues aside, the next issue would be whether or not the Sounders want him. I'd have to think that would be a resounding "yes." In his only season here he played in 26 matches and earned 23 starts. He was a popular player in the locker room and even more popular among fans. He could play all over the midfield and was a reasonably creative box-to-box central midfielder. He might not be an automatic starter on this team, but he'd certainly help and should be much more reliable in terms of health than a few of the players on the current roster.
Assuming there's a desire on both sides, the big obstacle would become actually signing him. Friberg is under contract for another season and would probably require a transfer fee. I'd like to think that Malmo would be willing to basically send him back for a similar amount as they bought him, since that seemed to be at a discounted price anyway.
As a player who was transferred out of the league, Friberg would have to go through allocation if he returned. Being as the Sounders currently occupy the No. 2 spot, that doesn't seem to be a huge problem. Of the players that seem likely to be available through allocation, there aren't many I can think of that would be a better pickup than Friberg.
Obviously, there are a ton of assumptions being made here. But the more I think about this, the more I like it. Let's make this happen.