By now, most Seattle Sounders fans are probably familiar with the nature of soccer's "silly season." We got a pretty good taste of it with all the ins and outs of the Obafemi Martins transfer, after all. So, consider yourself warned that we are officially on the Erik Friberg-transfer-roller coaster...
If you've been following along on Twitter or our own comments section, you're probably aware that this is a constantly evolving situation (much credit to our own Randy Meeker for finding most of this stuff). The latest appears to be that Malmo's Sporting Director has confirmed that Italian club Bologna are interested in acquiring Friberg's services. We also know that Friberg's agent sent out a cryptic tweet that seems to suggest we should know about his player's team in the coming days. This comes a day after numerous Swedish outlets were reporting that the Sounders were the team pursuing Friberg.
Beyond that, it's mostly speculation and rumor. One Italian site claims Friberg is due to come in for a physical and finalize a deal on Thursday. The same site claims that the various sides have been unable to reach a financial agreement. Another site claims that Bologna is more focused on Sao Paulo's Maicon.
It has also been suggested that Bologna is looking to bring Friberg in on a loan for the final few months of the season, as they attempt to stave off relegation. Bologna currently sits one point out of the relegation zone and just four points ahead of the bottom of the table with 17 matches left to play.
Assuming all of this is to be taken at face value, it would appear that Friberg has a choice: He can, of course, stay at Malmo; he can join Bologna on a short-term loan and hope that they avoid relegation; or he can join the Sounders, a team with whom he is familiar and presumably comfortable.
What might be working in Bologna's favor is a couple of things: 1. He'd probably get more money in Italy than in MLS; 2. Even if Bologna fails to avoid relegation and doesn't want to hold onto Friberg, he could still rejoin Malmo in time for the second round of Champions League qualifying in mid-July.
More than likely, the Sounders probably don't have the ability to get into a bidding war. This is likely going to come down to where Friberg feels most comfortable.
If the Sounders do miss out on Friberg, the attention would then turn to Marco Pappa or whoever else they think they can get through the Allocation Ranking. Pappa would still fill a hole at left mid, but wouldn't have quite the versatility of Friberg. The Sounders could also choose to trade out of the spot or wait for someone else they feel is a better fit. In other words, it's silly season, may as well enjoy it.