Sounders FC Transfer Speculation: MLS Summer 2012 Transfer Window Opens
The MLS summer transfer window opens today and the beginning of the silly season and its rumors from abroad is in full swing. SSFC is in the midst of a slide in MLS play lately (7 games winless, bequeathing the recent USOC quarterfinal win) and this current transfer window running till July 27th couldn’t come at a better time for them to look for roster improvements. I’d like to take a look at the most prominent name right now on the hot stove for the Seattle Sounders.
Christian Tiffert is a center midfielder for Bundesliga side, 1. FC Kaiserslautern. His team was recently relegated from the first division in Germany’s Bundesliga. Like most teams taking the plunge down a division, FC Kaiserslautern is looking to trim their salary wage bill and their captain, Tiffert, who still has 1 year remaining on his current contract, is weighing offers from other German sides. The Sounders front office has decided to throw their hat in the ring with a reported 3 year offer on the table for the 30-year-old talisman. There is no report on salary offered or if his team would let him go on a free but one would have to figure him to be either a designated player or a high salaried non-DP. If he does command a DP, either by salary, transfer fee or both, one of our existing DPs would have to be transferred out. Taking the bullet might be Alvaro Fernandez, who has had ambitions of playing in Europe and has struggled with form and fitness this year. Depending on allocation funds, Tiffert’s salary could be bought down below the DP salary threshold to fit him into the salary cap along with the other 3 pre-existing DPs. Whether we have these funds already or a possibly displaced Brad Evans is to be traded for allocation, you can see the tough accounting job our general manager, Adrian Hanauer, has in store for himself to accommodate a player of Tiffert’s quality.
Tiffert is, first and for most, an excellent distributor of the ball (he led the Bundesliga in assists in ’10/’11). He is equally good at short and long passes with exceptional vision and would look great as a ‘regista’ type midfielder, playing as a deep-lying playmaker spraying the ball around and freeing up Ozzie Alonso to remain the enforcer in the middle of the pitch. He is also an excellent free kicker, something the Sounders have truly been lacking since our MLS inception. Fredy Montero has had his fare share of curling blasts from 30 yards out, but the Sounders have never been a true threat from crossing set pieces and corners. Tiffert would improve this immensely for a team lacking in that department. Here is a better look at some of his other attributes from a Pro Evolution Soccer database post of him, which uses collaborations from its members to come up with the most accurate real life portrayals of the players for the cult classic soccer game. Even if you don’t play this game (looking at you FIFA fan boys), or don’t believe in in-game attributes as a true scale for scouting, you can plainly see he is an above average (on a 99 point system) dribbler, passer and free kicker who can play as an attacking midfielder or as a classic #10 static playmaker.
Tiffert can play all midfield positions but would most likely slot into the center mid position currently occupied by Brad Evans. This improvement would be two fold with Evan’s versatility (recently playing right back in the USOC quarterfinal) being utilized off the bench and in fixture congestion time to go along with Tiffert’s strengths that he could bring to the starting 11. The image below shows a healthy first 11 in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Montero dropping behind Johnson as a ‘trequartista’ or also know as withdrawn striker. Effectively you can just image the triangle passing lanes forming and being deputized by Tiffert’s vision.
I would welcome him with open arms on this roster and not just cause I’ve been pining for a German on this team for some time. He brings a lot of qualities in midfield we have yet to see in this Sounders MLS team. Silly season has begun and we can all dream how the Sounders are trying to improve and get back into form to accomplish the high expectations we are constantly putting upon ourselves. Let us know what you think, who you dream of and we will update you with more speculation as it works its way through the grapevine this summer.