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One-time Austrian wunderkind signs with Sounders

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Andreas Ivanschitz, now 31, was Austria's Player of the Year at just 20 years old.

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Seattle Sounders have signed Austrian attacking midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz (ee-van-SHETZ), the club announced today.

Ivanschitz most recently played for Levante of La Liga, the same club from which the Sounders acquired Obafemi Martins. Ivanschitz played mainly as a left midfielder for Levante, with some time playing as a CM.

"Andreas is a skilled and dynamic player that has proven his abilities in some of Europe’s top domestic leagues and at the international level," Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. "We’re excited to bring him to Seattle and help him integrate into our attack as we head toward the stretch run of our season."

Prior to his time in Levante, Ivanschitz spent four years with Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga, scoring 21 goals in those four years. Currently out of contract, he had been linked with a return to the Bundesliga with 1860 Munich.

Ivanschitz has had a lot of success with the Austrian national team as well, making 69 international appearances and scoring 12 goals. He made his national team debut at the age of 19, in 2003, and he was named the Austrian National Footballer of the Year that same season.

Ivanschitz is known as a set piece specialist, so we should hopefully see an improvement in dead-ball service:

"Andreas is a player who is creative in the attack and dangerous on set-pieces, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can contribute to the group," said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. "As we head into the final months of our season and begin CONCACAF Champions League play, we welcome Andreas’ experience and poise at this critical time of year."

Ivanschitz is apparently not being signed as a Designated Player, though it is unclear whether any Allocation Money or Targeted Allocation Money was required to buy down his cap hit. Being out of contract and 31, though, suggests his salary is not that high. It is clear the Sounders wanted him though:

"Andreas has the technical ability to help break down teams with his passing and movement in the attacking third," said Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson. "We’ve followed Andreas for a while now, and he’s a smart player who has played in top leagues all over Europe."

This video is a bit old, but it gives you a sense of why he was once known as "Austria's David Beckham."

It is unclear exactly where Ivanschitz will slot into the lineup. He may fight Pappa for the LM in Seattle's 4-4-2, or he may move to the center alongside Alonso. As he has great left footed service, it is unlikely that he plays on the right, though it is a possibility (and, with the outside mids switching frequently in Seattle's system, we'll probably see him there at times during games).

As there is at least one other move in the works, we will have to wait and see how the team shakes out.