GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - APRIL 23: Christian Tiffert of Kaiserslautern reacts during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and 1. FC Kaiserslautern at Veltins Arena on April 23, 2011 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Starke/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Christian Tiffert, formerly of Kaiserslautern, has reportedly become the Sounders' newest Designated Player signing.
The Seattle Sounders' long-rumored pursuit of Christian Tiffert appears to have finally born fruit. The Kaiserslautern website, as well as Tiffert's agent, are among the large contingent of outlets reporting that the midfielder has signed with the Sounders. Reports suggest it is a three-year deal and will make Tiffert a Designated Player.
The Sounders have not officially confirmed those reports, but did acknowledge they are in "advanced negotiations" and "will announce a signing when it becomes official." The implication here seems to be that there are some other pieces that still need to fall into place, which could be anything from league approval to a player being shipped out.
Further complicating the situation is the fact that the Sounders already have the maximum three Designated Players. It's at least theoretically possible that none of them will have to be moved, but it seems more likely that the Sounders would have to find another home for either Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero or Alvaro Fernandez, who was previously rumored to be going to Colombian side Deportivo Cali.
While Tiffert is far from the biggest name to join MLS, he comes to league with solid credentials. The 30-year-old led the Bundesliga with 17 assists as recently as the 2010-11 season, before having his numbers take a sharp decline last year as Kaiserslautern was relegated. He was credited with creating the most chances in the league, though, and has a reputation as a hard-nosed box-to-box-style center mid that could make for an interesting pairing with Osvaldo Alonso.
For more analysis of the signing, be sure to check out Sounder at Heart.