It’s still far from a complete deal, but the Seattle Sounders are giving indications they are serious about the pursuit of FC Kaiserslautern’s Christian Tiffert.
The 30-year-old midfielder (pictured above in 2005) attended Wednesday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, his agent Lars-Wilhelm Baumgarten told MLSsoccer.com. The Sounders, meanwhile, have publicly acknowledged interest, saying in a statement on Thursday that "Christian is a player who we like."
"He was in Seattle until [Thursday] and now he is back in Germany,” Baumgarten said. “Now, we will see what happens."
One potential stumbling block to a deal appears to be that Tiffert has another year remaining on his contract with his recently relegated German club. Kaiserslautern are coming off a season in which they finished at the bottom of the 18-team Bundesliga and will be looking to shed salaries, but they may also be looking for a transfer fee. German papers have also reported that Tiffert is drawing interest from Bundesliga sides Augsburg and Hannover 96.
“He's a player that, obviously, his club has indicated he probably will not be returning,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said during a teleconference with reporters. “He's exploring options. Have we settled or anything like that? No."
A player like Tiffert, at the right price, could be useful to the Sounders. Although he’s featured mostly as a more attack-minded central midfielder for Kaiserslautern, he’s seen time at all four midfield positions. He’s also an accurate passer, connecting almost 84 percent of his passes last season.
Along with his team’s fortunes, Tiffert’s stats took a dip in 2011-12, as he registered just two goals and a single assist on a team that scored just 24 times in 36 matches. A year earlier, though, when Kaiserslautern finished seventh, Tiffert led the league with 17 assists.
Whether or not the Sounders ultimately sign Tiffert, it’s another sign that they are looking to make a move once the summer transfer window opens on June 28.
"Every team at this point is always looking at players," Schmid said. "It's the transfer window, so you're always looking at players and seeing if something makes sense to you."
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.