BY Stanley Holmes 05:09PM 12/09/2010

Sounders to add Swedish midfielder

After expansion losses, Erik Friberg, 24, is expected to sign a three-year deal and make an immediate run at starting

Sounders are set to add Erik Friberg, left, from the Swedish club BK Hacken / Courtesy BK Hacken

The Seattle Sounders FC are closing a deal to bring Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg to the team as soon as he gets clearance from Major League Soccer, according to club officials.

All indications point to a done deal for the 24-year-old, who plays for BK Hacken of Sweden’s Allsvenskan league, the country’s top league. The team’s web site says Friberg has signed a three-year contract with Seattle.

Sounder owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer could not confirm the imminent announcement of the young Swede, nor would he deny it. The club is waiting for the league to approve the deal.

Friberg has been a starter and an important player for the four years he’s been with BK Hacken, which sits middle of the league. His imminent signing was helped when four key Sounders — Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo, Steve Zakuani and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado —  recently received their U.S. Green Cards. That freed up the number of foreign players that Seattle could sign. Friberg will fall under the Sounders salary cap.

With the loss of midfielders Nathan Sturgis and Sanna Nysassi, the Sounders were left with a big hole in the midfield. It is the hope of the coaching and technical staff that Friberg can help to fill it. The Swede is expected to fight for a starting position when the season kicks off March 2011.

Technical Director Chris Henderson spotted Friberg on scouting trip to Sweden, Hanauer said. He is a versatile midfielder, who can play wide or in the middle. He has a great engine, strong technical skills, fast feet, and he has good pace. He takes the set pieces for the team and is known for his excellent passing vision.

The Swedish team’s website says Friberg is looking forward to the new adventure and will be moving to Seattle in a month.