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September 5, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Reaction to Eidur Gudjohnsen’s arrival to Sounders FC training

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Here’s a look at the new arrival to Sounders FC training this week, Eidur Gudjohnsen (left). The 33 year old, who has played for clubs like Chelsea FC and FC Barcelona, is out of contract and exploring this option in Seattle.

So will a deal get done? General manager Adrian Hanauer said it’s possible and I’ve included an interview with him below. There’s also reaction from head coach Sigi Schmid and goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, another alumnus of the Greek league (Gudjohnsen’s last club was AEK Athens).

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ADRIAN HANAUER, general manager and part owner

(Can you talk about the process of bringing Gudjohnsen here?) “This one was a little bit out of the blue. We were contacted by his representation and anytime you get a chance to look at a player of Eidur’s quality and (soccer resume), 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. Obviously we got a chance to see him today and we’ll get a chance throughout the week, and then we’ll see from there.”

(How much of this is an education process for him getting to know MLS and the team?) “Yeah, I think it’s part of it. We always want that to be part of it. Whenever possible, we like to have players come in and see the place, get to know the players, coaches, owners, managers, neighborhoods, schools districts — educate themselves as much as possible. It’s great for us, as well, because we can educate ourselves on the player off the fiend and on the field.”

(Is it good sign for MLS when guys like Gudjohnsen are considering coming here?) “I’m not sure if it’s a good sign or a bad sign or just sort of way it is. Football players want to play football. Sometimes they want to play in Europe because it’s closer to family. Sometimes they want to try a new experience. Sometimes they want to learn Chinese. Sometimes they like the lifestyle in the Middle East. I’m not sure I’d say it’s a good or a bad thing. For us, from our perspective, we’re just trying to make ourselves a better team, always. I guess, sure, if every player in the world wanted to come trial in Seattle and play in MLS, then that’s a good thing, but I think it’s going to continue to be sort of a competition between different regions of the world for players.”

(Logistically, are you guys able to sign him?) “Yeah, obviously we have a lot of talk left to do, but we didn’t bring him in to sign him next year, necessarily. We brought him in because we think there’s a chance we could do something this year. Again, there’s a lot of getting to know each other still ahead before we get to that.”

(What would keep this deal from getting done then?) “Well, he doesn’t do the job in training. He doesn’t like us. Money can’t be agreed on. His wife decides she doesn’t want to live in Seattle. There are a lot of reasons why it still could not happen, so we’ll sort of check boxes this week and then see where we’re at.”

(Did you call in favors to make sure the weather stays this nice?) “Exactly. On the way in this morning, I said, ‘This is good.’ It’s hard to visit this part of the country and not like it on a day like this.”

(Are you expecting him to train through Friday and then have some resolution?) “I think we’re still working through that. I think there’s a chance that he could even play in the reserve game on Sunday. We’d like to him to check out our game here on Saturday and get a full feel for the club.”

(He had previously been linked to KC, does that change anything?) “I didn’t know that and it doesn’t change anything for us.”

(How helpful is it bringing a prospective player to a home game?) “It’s probably not going to be the deciding factor, but we’re proud of what we’ve been able to create and accomplish here — and so we want to show it off. Hopefully players when they come in enjoy that and think that they’d like to be part of it.”

SIGI SCHMID, head coach

(How’s your Icelandic?) “I don’t even know how to answer that. (laughs)”

(Can you talk about the Gudjohnsen addition to training and what you’re hoping to see?) “It was an opportunity. (Technical director Chris Henderson) was made aware of the opportunity and we talked about it and we said, ‘Hey, this is a unique opportunity.’ He sort of understands our situation, so we’ll see how things go. Obviously he’s a talented player with a great pedigree and we’re honored as a club that he would consider our team, so we’ll see how things go this week — how it works for him, how it works for us.”

(Is Sunday’s reserve game as possibility for him?) “Yeah.”

(What does it say about MLS or this club that this is a player that’s at least interested in coming here?) “It just shows the growth of the league and the recognition of the league around the world. People know what MLS. Games are seen all the time. Mario Martinez’s agent was in Spain and he said, ‘Yeah, I saw your game against Chivas.’ You don’t expect MLS soccer to be on in Spain, but it was. So I think there’s more recognition for the league all the time. People are aware of it and realize you’re in a stable economy, which is always nice because sometimes when your career moves on you go into unstable situations. But it also shows the quality of play has gotten there where there’s a good recognition factor.”

(What’d you think of what you saw today?) “You know it’s tough — one practice, first day out. You can tell he’s a good player. You can tell by the touches and the movement and so forth. … 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. But for the first day, he’s got to settle in and it’s tough traveling 13 hours — we know that from when we went to Trinidad and then tried to play.”

(You’ve been in L.A. and Columbus, all across the board when it comes to markets, how does Seattle differ when it comes to recruiting players like this?) “When you’re a European player, there are always the cities of New York and L.A. They’re always attractive to those individuals because they know what New York is and they know what Los Angeles is. Chicago sometimes enters that mix a little bit. Seattle now has entered the mix because of what we’re dong from a standpoint of fans. People look at it and say, ‘Wait a second. These guys are tearing it up at the gate. There’s got to be something there.’ I think once people come to Seattle they realize it’s a pretty nice place. It doesn’t rain very often. I think we’re at 45 days today without rain or something. But I think it’s really the fans and the culture of the club and the reputation the club that has built up, moreso than maybe just the city. Because even when Red Bulls are struggling and when L.A. was struggling, there was still away an attractiveness to those clubs because of the city, not necessarily for the club. Now those clubs are doing better. But with here, the club sort of precedes the city and when people come here they realize this is a nice city, as well.”

MICHAEL GSPURNING, goalkeeper

(Did you play against Gudjohnsen in Greece?) “Not at that point. I’d signed with the Sounders and so I was just sitting up in the stands and we were eating Greek souvlaki. I saw the game when he scored against Xanthi, but I wasn’t playing in this game.”

(Was he a big signing for the league?) “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.”

(Any scouting report you can give?) “He’s a striker with good quality. You see how he strikes the ball, his body. You just have to look at his clubs to know that he has quality.”

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