Fire upgrade midfield, trade for Ljungberg

The Chicago Fire continued to make some strong personnel upgrades with the acquisition of midfielder Freddie Ljungberg from Seattle Sounders FC on Friday.

Chicago traded a conditional selection in the 2011 or 2012 MLS SuperDraft for Lungberg, marking the first-ever trade of a designated player in the history of the league.

Ljungberg has been on the MLS injury report for the past several weeks with an ankle sprain. But the team said that he is expected to be an available roster option for head coach Carlos de los Cobos when Chicago takes on the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday in Carson, Calif.

"I have been thinking long and hard about the next step in my career, and I am extremely happy to become the newest member of the Chicago Fire," Ljungberg said in a statement. "I had a very long and exciting meeting with Fire owner Andrew Hauptman and technical director Frank Klopas. Their vision and commitment to this club, and to winning championships, was extremely appealing to me."

The Fire had an open roster spot when they traded midfielder Justin Mapp to the Philadelphia Union for allocation money.

Ljungberg, 33, brings some immediate and much-needed stability and experience in Chicago's midfield. The native of Sweden spent the majority of his professional career with Arsenal from 1998 to 2007, spent some time with West Ham United and then joined the Seattle Sounders for their MLS debut last year.

"Freddie is an exceptional player with world-class talent, and we are thrilled to have him join the Chicago Fire," Klopas said. "He is a player with an illustrious career, and as an attacking player he will help us toward our goal of bringing the MLS Cup to Chicago."

Ljungberg is the third designated player in the Fire's history. Chicago's first DP was midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco from 2007-2009, and the squad recently signed Mexican international forward Nery Castillo.