One of the more intriguing trialists in preseason camp with the New England Revolution currently is Swedish forward Björn Runström. The 27-year-old has been on the books at clubs in England, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway and his native Sweden already in his career.
In 2006, Runström moved to Fulham FC in England’s Premier League for a reported $1.1 million, where he was teammates with former Revs midfielder Clint Dempsey for a brief period. Since then he’s struggled to find his scoring touch.
Now Runström is looking to latch on with the Revs as a free agent after leaving Sweden’s Hammarby IF at the end of the 2011 season.
New England Soccer Today caught up with Jakob Celik, co-founder of the Sweden-based fotbolltransfers.com to find out just what the Revs can expect should they sign Runstrom.
New England Soccer Today: What type of a striker is Björn? Is he a target forward or more of a second striker?
Jakob Celik: Björn Runström is a hard working centre forward, who never stops running. He doesn’t score a lot of goals though, never has. His best season was in 2005 when he scored nine goals for Hammarby. The year after he was sold to Fulham.
NEST: Björn obviously had a great run to earn a move to Fulham, but his goal-scoring statistics don’t look great since. How has he done since making the big move to England?
JC: Runström has been moving around a lot, which in this case is not a good thing. You need time to adapt to both the league and the club. And Runström basically hasn’t managed to hold a spot in the starting line-up for a full season in any team since he left Hammarby in 2006.
He didn’t play much in Fulham. He came on as a substitute in a game against Tottenham. That was his only appearance in the first-team. He was then sent on loan to Luton for two months where he at least got some playing time. And then back to the reserve team in Fulham.
The next year he was loaned out to Kaiserslautern in Bundesliga 2. Runström got off to a good start there but after a while he was spending more time on the bench. The club was struggling as well – they were only one point from being relegated.
He then signed for Danish team Odense in 2008. During the first half of the season he was a regular player and was scoring goals. He then got injured, and after that it went downhill. Eventually the coach didn’t want to keep him in the team. Once again he was sent on loan, this time to Molde in 2010.
Unfortunately, things didn’t get better in Norway. He had problems with injuries and didn’t score enough goals. Runström went back to Odense but only for a few months. They agreed to go separate ways.
In 2011 he was back in Hammarby. You might want to see this video, where Runström is presented during a Hammarby hockey game. He actually signs the contract during that game. And you can hear how happy the fans were to have him back (the fans were singing “we love Runa”).
Many thought Hammarby would win the league, since they signed Runström and a few other strikers. But the season was a disappointment for both the player and the team. They managed to avoid relegation in the last round. Runström scored only three goals.
His profile and stats are available at fotbolltransfers.com.
NEST: Why is Björn no longer with Hammarby?
JC: Well, his contract expired after the season, so Runström was a free agent. There were discussions with Hammarby about signing a new contract. But Runström and the new coach Gregg Berhalter didn’t get along very well. According to some reports Berhalter told the player that he was just a bench player, which Runström wasn’t happy to hear. Other claims Runström required to be a player in the starting eleven to sign a new contract.
NEST: Has he been the target of any other clubs since leaving Hammarby?
JC: His agent recently told a Swedish newspaper that there are several options for Björn Runström, but New England is one of the main priorities. There have also been reports about interest from Italian clubs (Serie B).