Why Gonzalo Segares needs Europe

Kansas City Wizards v Chicago Fire

I first met Gonzalo Segares this June while covering a Fire training session. Gonzalo was playing through a calf injury at the time and left the practice field early to enter the locker room to receive some extra treatment on his leg. But before he could escape I jogged over to introduce myself to him. We exchanged hellos and he departed for the locker room.

All in all, it was a pretty unremarkable encounter.
I last saw Gonzalo Segares in the moments following the Fire's heartbreaking defeat to Real Salt Lake in the Eastern Conference Final. Dressed in street clothes, Segares had watched the game from the stands, unable to play because of a left MCL sprain that kept him out for all but 25 minutes of the final three months of the season. We exchanged goodbyes and he headed off to the parking lot.

All in all, it was a pretty unremarkable encounter.

But the thing that is remarkable about each encounter is what they had in common. On both occasions Segares was dealing with an injury.

Dealing (and suffering, and recovering, and rehabbing) with injuries was a common theme for the Fire's staring left back in 2009. He only appeared in 12 regular season games for the Fire (though some of his absences can be attributed to call ups to the Costa Rican national team) and was dealt the cruel fate of watching his team's season come to an end from the stands.

But none of his injuries can take away from the fact that Segares - when healthy - is a fantastic player. The injuries should accomplish one thing however: increase Segares's (who is currently out of contract) desire to move to Europe this offseason.

Don't get me wrong, I would hate to see Segares leave Chicago. He's the best left back in MLS for my money. But at 27 years old, Gonzalo isn't getting any younger and with his 2009 salary at only $64,000, the time is now for him to cash in on his free agent status and make the move to Europe - if he finds a situation that suits him.

Segares (who I've been trying to arrange an interview with for since Sunday), told me about his desire to make the move to Europe back in November, saying that he is "trying to move and see if I can play in Europe."

But because of those injuries, the time is now for Segares to make his move. If he comes back to MLS - and endures another injury riddled season with the Fire - his stock would likely fall tremendously in the eyes of European teams. Then there is his age. For a relatively unknown quantity (I'm saying that from the perspective of a European team) 27 is a late age to "move up," - so to speak - in the soccer world and if he waits another year, teams could get scared away by his age.

That said, I think it's important that the Fire makes a serious run at Gonzalo this offseason. I know that he really wants to go to Europe but if the offers aren't coming in, he might have to look elsewhere and - in the words of Frank Klopas - the Fire would "love to have him back."

My advice to Gonzalo? Go ahead and make that move to Europe. Don't risk another season in MLS that could see you get hurt and drop your stock in the eyes of European teams. It's your dream to play in Europe and you should follow that dream.

But it would be 'remarkable' to have you back.

Comments

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  • Where is he looking to play? Lets not forget that he is 27 and has been hurt for long stretches for what seems like the last 3 years. Is there really a difference in playing for a relegation battling team in Portugal or playing for the Fire. If he stays here he is going to be getting a nice raise that would have to see him as one of the top paid on the team.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    He needs to cash in, it is now or never for him. He has a 5 year window to make serious money. Will anyone pay him north of $200k in MLS? No way, but he might be able to make that in Europe.

  • In reply to milicz:

    I wouldnt pay him more than 200k. He is not worth that in this league. He is a great MLS defender and is an asset to any MLS side but he is injury prone, not the fastest outside back out there and he does tend to lose his head on occasion. I think if he goes over to Europe it would be a lower level team in a mid level league. Is that really better than being in a great city and playing for one of the best sides in this league?

  • In reply to milicz:

    Too many unknowns- is there Euro interest? How much $ have or would the fire offer Sega? How much needs to be set aside for GBS or another stud? Would Sega get called
    home for world cup duty? If he stays, we have a stronger team. Pay the man, and get GBS too.

  • In reply to milicz:

    On a completely unrelated note, FC Dallas midfielder Dave Van Den Bergh is available. How about it? Will we make our midfield more attacking with a dangerous player, Mr Klopas? The time is now.

  • In reply to milicz:

    Nick Noble, according to Yanks Abroad, has signed with a Swedish club so I would think there will be interest in Europe for Gonzo. I have always thought that Van Den Bergh would be a great asset with a player like McBride (ala Angel).

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Until there is another team willing to pay him north of 200K a year, the Fire won't feel forced to pay him anything more than 100K a year.

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