The most conspicuous absence from Seattle Sounders training over the past couple weeks has been Designated Player Christian Tiffert.
Previous comments from the Sounders suggested Tiffert did not join the team in Arizona because he was rehabilitating from injuries. Although details are still thin, head coach Sigi Schmid is now giving strong indications that the situation is more complicated than that.
“There’s things that are being discussed in regards to Christian but that’s a better question for Adrian [Hanauer, Seattle’s general manager] as far as where that is,” Schmid said during a teleconference with reporters on Friday.
“He’s not with us right now. He’s training on his own there. He seems to be doing all right with things that were bothering him at the time. Now, it’s gone into another phase that Adrian can address better than I.”
A day earlier, Schmid told ExtraTime Radio that Tiffert’s situation was “in a process” and that he expected it to be “resolved in a short period of time.”
Should Tiffert be headed for a Sounders exit, the club has three options: Transfer him to a foreign league, trade him within MLS or buy out his contract before March 2.
One impetus behind such a move appears to be Hanauer’s previously stated desire to sign a DP striker. As it stands now, the Sounders do not have an open DP spot with Mauro Rosales and the newly acquired Shalrie Joseph occupying the other two. The club has been linked to several forwards this offseason, the latest being Obafemi Martins of Spanish Primera club Levante.
Martins has seven league goals and two more in Europa League play, including one in Thursday’s quarterfinals-clinching victory over Greece’s Olympiakos.
When asked if he saw Martins play, Schmid said he was on a league conference call at the time but caught highlights.