Hanauer says Gudjohnsen stint "a little bit out of the blue"
TUKWILA, Wash. — It looks like the Seattle Sounders could have one more international signing up their sleeves.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, the Iceland international who has played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe, started training with the team on Wednesday and could sign if both sides like what they see. The attacker is currently out of contract after agreeing to terminate his deal with AEK Athens in July.
"This one was a little bit out of the blue,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer told reporters on Wednesday. “We were contacted by his representation and, anytime you get a chance to look at a player of Eidur's quality and CV, 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 – so we'll see.”
It wasn’t so long ago that Gudjohnsen was making a career for himself in places like Chelsea (2000-06) and Barcelona (2006-09), where he became the first Icelandic player to win a Champions League title and scored more than 80 goals in top-flight European leagues.
Since then, he’s been a bit of a soccer nomad, though. Among his stops have been Ligue 1’s Monaco and the Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham.
In 2011, he signed a two-year deal with AEK Athens, but a broken leg cut short his first season and this was supposed to be the second year of the deal. As coincidence would have it, the last professional goal he scored was against Skoda Xanthi, where Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was under contract at the time.
“I'd signed with the Sounders and so I was just sitting up in the stands and we were eating Greek souvlaki,” Gspurning said when asked what he remembered about that game. “It was a big signing for the league, of course, and he was very unlucky after that because he broke his leg, I think. But what I saw in the game was great, impressive.”
Considering he just arrived after a 13-hour flight, Gudjohnsen still looks capable of returning to that kind of form. He showed some good footwork and moved well for a player of his size.
“You can tell he's a good player,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Everyone 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.”
Perhaps working the Sounders’ favor is that Gudjohnsen was greeted by some glorious weather, as Seattle is approaching a record for most consecutive days without rain. The Sounders are also hoping Gudjohnsen sticks around long enough to see Saturday’s game vs. Chivas USA, which should be attended by close to 40,000 fans, and maybe even play in Sunday’s Reserve League game.
“Obviously we have a lot of talk left to do, but we didn't bring him in to sign him next year, necessarily,” Hanauer said. “We brought him in because we think there's a chance we could do something this year.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.