By John Boyle
In a move that has been expected for some time now, Sounders FC has bought out the contract of midfielder Christian Tiffert prior to Saturday’s season opener.
Tiffert has been away from the team for most of the preseason, and Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer and coach Sigi Schmid have hinted at the move for a while, so the news is hardly surprising, but it is significant because Saturday’s game marked the deadline for making that transaction, which frees up a designated player slot on Seattle’s roster.
The Sounders have made no secret of the fact that they are pursuing Nigerian forward Obafemi Martis, who currently plays for Levante in Spain. And while that deal has apparently hit a bit of a snag, Martins seems confident his move to Seattle will still happen soon.
“There’s a little delay but I’m optimistic everything will be resolved soon,” Martins told BBC Sport. “It is only a minor misunderstanding. Hopefully we can sort it out by Monday.”
The Sounders have until early May to add Martins before the league’s transfer window closes, but to free up the designated player spot needed to add a player of his stature, a move had to be done prior to the start of the season.
The Sounders signed Tiffert last summer as a designated player, and while the German was a regular in the starting lineup, he did not have the impact one might expect from a DP. With Seattle adding Shalrie Joseph to an already crowded midfield, Tiffert became expendable for a team that wants to upgrade at forward following the departure of Fredy Montero.