The signing of Christian Wilhelmsson by the LA Galaxy sent shock waves in MLS circles as club's prepare for the stretch run, but I was curious about how the move played in his native Sweden.
In order to find that out, I reached out to one of Sweden's most respected soccer journalists Olof Lundh. Lundh is Editor-in-Chief at noted Swedish soccer website fotbollskanalen.se and also works for Sweden's biggest TV-channel TV4. He has covered the Swedish national team since 1997. It was Lundh who reported that Wilhelmsson had signed a deal with the Galaxy on Monday after he joining LA in training on Friday.
Below is my conversation with Lundh wherein he explains where Wilhelmsson is in his career, his prospects with the Swedish national team and even the origin of his nickname "Chippen"...
Where is Chippen in his career at the moment and how do you feel that he can be best utilized on the field?
LUNDH: "He can't stop aging and of course turning 33 in December makes it tougher to perform at the highest level, but he has a body that is pretty easy to get in shape and i very seldom injured. I think most people were surprised of his performance for
How will Wilhelmsson's move affect his chances with the Swedish national team and what are the perceptions of MLS in Sweden?
LUNDH: "He has a great possibility to be a factor in the national team. Right now Seattle's Adam Johansson is with the national team so I don't expect that a move to LA and MLS will make it difficult for Wilhelmsson as long as he gets to play regularly and performs. The status of MLS has grown the last years with more and more big name players moving there. Wilhelmsson didn't play that much in the European Championship this summer but he was sensational when Sweden beat France. The competition isn't that great either so it's very much up to Wilhelmsson if he wants to be part of the WC-qualifying."
What should LA Galaxy fans know about Wilhelmsson as a player and as a person?
LUNDH: "He is always happy and easygoing and that is a joy for a group like the Swedish national team. Teams need a guy that helps everyone feel welcomed and part of the group and who also performs and is serious with his football. LA Galaxy not only got a great guy but also a player who in his best moments is a powerful winger that can create a lot of chances. LA Galaxy should know that his nickname in Swedish is 'Chippen' which is 'The Chip' in English and he got it as a kid because he was really good with the chip shot."