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Ljungberg signing a bad moment for MLS

ljungberggetty 468x712 Ljungberg signing a bad moment for MLS

I’ll admit that I saw this coming but that does not make it in any way more justifiable. Major League Soccer has its newest Designated Player, and like some of the post Beckham/Blanco signings it is a player no major club in the world would even entertain a thought of signing. Freddie Ljungberg is a player that couldn’t find playing time at West Ham United, and was little more than a role player and cult hero on some very very good Arsenal teams earlier this decade and at the end of the nineties. But Ljungberg is not the type of player MLS needs to be signing with the DP rule. This player represents little if any natural fan base in the United States and is not of the type of quality to elevate the entire league or even arguably the Seattle Sounders team he signed for.  Ljungberg like Denilson last season and Marcello Gallardo and Claudio Lopez this year are players who do not bring a fan base with them and are at best a slight improvement over the players available within the MLS player pool already. The initial “Beckham Effect” with the DP rule of signing David Beckham, Cuauhetemoc Blanco, and Juan Pablo Angel as well as the non DP signing of Boca Juniors legend Guille Barros Schelotto has worn off. Now once again MLS appears to be a retirement home for players looking for one last paycheck: not unlike leagues in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Major League Soccer needs to either repeal the DP rule at the same time as raising the salary cap or somehow encourage its franchises all of which are controlled by the league to a great extent to not pull the trigger on DP signings based on reputation of a player because he played for either a top flight national team (the case of Gallardo, Lopez and Denilson)or a top international club. (Ljungberg) MLS must find players who fit an ethnic fanbase as both Blanco and Angel did, or a player whose natural talent and quality will elevate the whole league as Schelotto did. (for what it is worth Schelotto has a massive following among Boca Juniors supporters in the USA: only second perhaps to Martin Palermo.) Unless a DP meets these criteria the league should reject a club signing the player. It’s not only best for the club and MLS’ sake but for the reputation football in America maintains abroad.


  • With Houston’s 1-1 draw against Firpo in El Salvador last night, the Dynamo simply need to beat the Salvadorian side at Robertson Stadium November 26th to advance to the knock out stages of the CONCACAF Champions League.
  • The Puerto Rico Islanders became the second USL side to advance to the quarters of the CCL with a 2-2 draw in Panama against Tauro FC.
  • All four CCL groups were won by Mexican sides. Clearly no question can exist as to what the best league in the region is. What’s more signifcgant is that Chivas, America and Pachuca, traditionally the three best Mexican sides in CONCACAF competitions did not even qualify for this event.

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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

0 Responses to Ljungberg signing a bad moment for MLS

  1. Phillip says:

    If Freddie performs on the field for Seattle, he’s worth it.

  2. Berlin says:

    Come on Kartik, Ljungberg is legit. For all the EPL fanaticism that exists in the USA, you don’t think people know who he is? He’s a great signing and I will be at the game to watch him play. We do need to raise the cap, but probably not until the teams start seeing black instead of red. We can’t get Donovan calibar players to come here at their prime until the pieces start coming together. He’s going to light the league up, and if he doesn’t, he’s all over the soccer news regardless. Even the four letter network had an article on it. Keller, Nyassi 2.0 and Lungberg will be scary up in Seattle once they rob the league in the expansion draft.

  3. Ric says:

    You know what fanbase Freddie may be able to pull in? The same way that GBS pulls in a few Boca fans to games, Freddie will be able to pull in a few Arsenal fans (or “fans”).

    Personally, I’d allow teams to make their own decisions regarding players…

    …and wait until they actually play to see if its a “bad moment.”

  4. TapocoL says:

    I disagree. Why should we constrain who teams can and can’t sign even more than they do already? We need to stop restricting our teams from glory. When we force a salary cap, roster restrictions, and other restrictions, we are downgrading the league. Why do you think we are performing so badly in the CL? Because of our limitations on signing talent and keeping the talent here. MLS should not be deciding if players can or cannot be signed to a team. They should only be focused on balanced rules and keeping US players in the US.

  5. crimfan says:

    I’d pay money to see LA Galaxy play Seattle just because of Becks and Ljungberg. Can’t really say the same if those two players aren’t on the field.

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