Sounders' Fernandez could get central role in 2012

Alvaro Fernandez

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When the Seattle Sounders start camp in a couple weeks, Álvaro Fernández might have a new place to play.

In a call with reporters last Friday, Sounders technical director Chris Henderson indicated that the club might look at testing the versatility of several players, including Fernández, who played almost exclusively at left midfield after the injury to Steve Zakuani.

When discussing on how to fill out the rest of the roster, Henderson raised the possibility of moving Fernández into the middle of the field.

“Can players move around to different positions so we can find room for Zakuani on the flank, and can Fernández be versatile and play inside?” Henderson said. “There are always things that our staff is talking about and thinking about.”

The unexpected offseason departure of Erik Friberg leaves Seattle with a hole in the middle of the field. Brad Evans is likely the incumbent at the second center midfield position alongside Osvaldo Alonso, but injuries have limited Evans to just 28 starts over the past two seasons.

With several outside midfielders already on the roster, Henderson mentioned moving Fernández into the middle of the field, where he played during parts of the 2010 season. It’s yet unknown how soon Zakuani will be ready to take the field, but he expressed hope in November that Zakuani would be back in March.

Should Zakauni return to the starting lineup, it would be likely that Fernández – who scored nine goals last season – would need to move to keep his spot.

Another option, of course, would be to look for a new team. In a widely circulated Goal.com report, Fernández was connected to Palermo in the Italian Serie A. Fernández has previous experience in Europe, where he completed a brief loan spell at Portuguese club Vitória in 2009.

Henderson, who confirmed outside interest in Fernández and also striker Fredy Montero, reiterated the club’s desire to have smooth transitions when key players leave.

“We always have to have players that we’re looking at, that if the club decides to move a player that we have a plan in place to replace them,” Henderson said. “Because we always want to make sure that there’s a transition that’s really smooth and doesn’t affect the style of play that we have and the production of our attack.”