Iceland International forward/midfielder Eidur Gudjohnsen, 33, formerly of Chelsea and Barcelona and 18 professional seasons, trained with the Sounders today.
General manager Adrian Hanauer gave this overview of how it happened.
“This one was a little bit out of the blue,” he said. “We were contacted by his representation, and any time you get a chance to look at a player of Eidur’s quality … you jump at it. He seems like a really good guy: wants to be here and show what he can do. Likes this area. Has been here a couple of times to the Northwest. We’ll see. Obviously we got a chance to see him today, and we’ll get a chance throughout the week, and then we’ll see from there.”
Gudjohnsen is expected to train through Friday, attend the Sounders home match against Chivas on Saturday, and then play in the Sounders’ Reserve League match Sunday at Starfire Sports Stadium.
Here’s what coach Sigi Schmid saw in Gudjohnsen’s first training session in rave.
“It’s tough: one practice, first day out,” he said. “You can tell he’s a good player. You can tell by the touches, and the movement and so forth. Players are players. He brings a different quality and a different dimension. He’s a strong guy: He can post up, he can hold the ball, he finds his little options off of that. But for the first day, everybody’s got to settle in. It’s tough traveling 13 hours — we know that when we traveled to Trinidad — and trying to play.”
Gudjohnsen’s representation didn’t want him to speak to local media.
However, here’s more from Hanauer:
On the visit as education for Gudjohnsen) “Yeah, I think it’s part of it. We always want that to be part of it. Where ever possible, we like to have players come in and see the place, get to know the players, coaches, owners, managers, neighborhoods, schools districts: educate themselves as much as possible. It’s great for us, as well, because we can educate ourselves on the player off the field and on the field.”
On if his interest is a good sign for MLS) “I’m not sure if it’s a good sign or a bad sign, it’s just sort of way it is. Football players want to play football. Sometimes they want to play in Europe because it’s closer to family. Sometimes they want to try a new experience. Sometimes they want to learn Chinese. Sometimes they like the lifestyle in the Middle East. I’m not sure I’d say it’s a good or a bad thing. For us, from our perspective, we’re just trying to make ourselves a better team: always. I guess, sure, if every player in the world wanted to trial in Seattle and play in MLS, yes that’s a good thing, but I think it’s going to continue to be sort of a competition between different regions of the world for players.”
On the Sounders’ ability to sign him) “Yeah, obviously we have a lot of talk left to do, but we didn’t bring him in to sign him next year, necessarily. We brought him in because we think there’s a chance we could still do something this year. Again, there’s a lot of getting to know each other still ahead before we get to that.”
What could prevent deal?) “Well, he doesn’t do the job in training. He doesn’t like us. Money can’t be agreed on. His wife decides she doesn’t want to live in Seattle. There are a lot of reasons why it still could not happen. So we’ll sort of check boxes this week and then see where we’re at.”
On the glorious weather) “On the way in this morning, I said, ‘This is good.’ It’s hard to visit this part of the country and not like it on a day like this.”
On a timetable for signing or not) “I think we’re still working through that. I think there’s a chance that he could even play in the reserve game on Sunday. We’d like to him to check out our game here on Saturday and get a full feel for the club.”
On the value of showing off the home-game atmosphere) “It’s probably not going to be the deciding factor, but we’re proud of what we’ve been able to create and accomplish here — and so we want to show it off. Hopefully players when they come in enjoy that and think that they’d like to be part of it.”