Freddie Ljungberg Relegated to MLS

Nathan LoweAnalyst IOctober 28, 2008

Former Arsenal star Fredrik Ljungberg proceeded on course to anonymity with a last-ditch move to American Major League Soccer franchise Seattle Sounders. 

The 2002 EPL Player of the Year fell out dramatically with the London club in 2007, stating in melodramatic fashion that Arsenal did not have the same ambitions as West Ham United. 

The Swede confidently moved west to Upton Park in July of 2007. 

Throughout the 2007-08 campaign, Ljungberg struggled with injury and consistency, surprising in hindsight to absolutely no-one. The midfielder scored twice in 28 appearances, often off the bench. 

In August 2008, Ljungberg's fantasies of West Ham glory were mutually agreed to be unobtainable; he left the club by shared consent.

A month earlier he played his last game for his country in the final group match of a disappointing Euro 2008 campaign for Sweden.

Since August, the former spark-plug winger has been without a club. His signing by MLS and Seattle showcase his marketing appeal, as his ability inside the touchlines has long since diminished, similar to former Manchester United rival David Beckham.

Ljungberg is similar to Beckham in many ways, in fact. Both players may find themselves being the slowest on their respective teams.

Indeed, a footrace between Beckham and his Swedish doppelganger would be the most interesting contest in what should be a dour season for the Sounders and Beckham's Galaxy.

Both players are beautiful in appearance and play roughly the same position, albeit in a different manner. Of course, memories of Ljungberg racing down the right-wing have long since fleeted. Perhaps his approach to wing play won't now be much different than the former United man, without speed to attack defenders.

Ljungberg, like Beckham, has modelled extensively. A Calvin Klein model until 2007, the handsome Swede is now a spokesman for Pepsi, the flagship product of American soft drink giant PepsiCo, who coincidentally sponsor the MLS All-Star game.

And, like Beckham, but to a greater extent, Ljungberg's true value lies now only in reputation and appearance, with little else of substance to offer a footballing team.