Fire add Kennedy Igboananike as Designated Player

It's not the big name signing many fans are hoping for but the Fire's newest addition to the roster does improve on last year's forward corps. Nigerian striker Kennedy Igboananike has signed with the club as a Designated Player after spending the last five seasons in the Swedish first division. A quick look at his record and video highlights shows a player with some pace and skill that has been able to create and score on his own more consistently than the Fire's recent DP additions at forward. That's a good sign but not a particularly hard feat to top considering the names on that list.

There had been recent talk of interest in Igboananike from Premier League sides Southampton and Queen's Park Rangers so the Fire aren't dealing with a total unknown in this case although he may not be a player many are familiar with stateside. At 25 years old, he is also a player that potentially can be around for several seasons if he manages to adapt to the MLS game. He may be an improvement to last year's roster and a player who will contribute but the Fire still need to find a way to move the needle off the field going into next season via additional player acquisitions.

There's still a lot of work to do.

Notes

  • The Fire announced a multi-year partnership with Privatebank that includes the naming rights to the north side soccer center. The official name of the facility will be "The PrivateBank Fire Pitch".
  • The club is still looking to add reinforcements at midfield, the back line, and at forward despite signing Igboananike today. Some of the names you've heard are still in play. Expect more news soon.

Filed under: 2014 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Is there a more ridiculous name than The PrivateBank Fire Pitch?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Ridiculous or not, I have to wonder whether that sponsorship money is going to the club or directly into Andell's bank account. My guess is the latter, since the facility is a separate entity.

  • If he adapts to MLS, that is the question. I just hope he does not become this years Anongano or McDonald.

    The signing is useless unless there is a quality midfielder brought in to provide service. It would be nice if they brought in a quality, well established name we have all heard of and will be excited about. It has been far too long, I am tired of scratching my head and saying WHO?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    I'm optimistic on this one, he looks like a player with some exciting qualities in his game. Optimism is a better than the hope that a couple of the previous signings would turn into something. We'll see.

    That said, they still desperately need a facilitator in midfield and a new center back.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I think you meant to say center backs not center back.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I am normally a glass is half full guy, but the systematic and continual decline of the team I have supported since year one has turned me into a cynic. I need to see results before I can become excited again. Expansion teams are signing players like Lampard and Villa, the best we have done the last year has been a player no one has heard of from Sweden who may or may not adapt to play in MLS.

    Optimism would be to bring in a player the caliber of Dempsey, Lampard, Villa, Keane or Henry. Anything less would be business as usual.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Bringing in a guy like that would breed more than optimism; it might actually breed confidence that the team was committed to a plan to do whatever it takes to be in the mix for titles. Right now they're just looking to get in the mix for playoff contention. Until they make that big move, fans have every right to be skeptical.

  • In reply to DerSting:

    Without national team level players we cannot compete. If they keep bringing in 2nd and 3rd division level players from other countries, we'll continue to suck. This guy is too small to play forward in this league.. we've already got 4 guys like this. We need a big, strong target forward. The moves are just more of the same. Cheap and 2nd rate.

  • Guys I an thrilled that the fire have actually made a move with the Nigerian that might have some potential. A buddy says that Maloney is a gifted midfielder. Hopefully they take a chance with him and a few other new playes. The 8th of December should give us an idea where the team is headed. I am still not going to renew until there is more of a vision but hopefully things will continue in the right direction

  • Scouting report from an AIK fan on Reddit: "He is very quick, but not an intelligent player. Also he is very streaky, in 2013 he was banging the goals in for fun during the second half of the season. Some of them were real screamers, but sometimes he can't hit a barn door. This year though he was ice cold most of the time. I think he is a player that needs confidence from his manager, now he was benched during the the first half of the season for Eero Markkanen who we later sold to Castilla and never seemed to catch his flow after that. He might benefit from playing in club with less pressure than AIK as well."

    Sounds like he's Oduro 2.0 with a DP tag, great.

  • fb_avatar

    Is either Grant Ward or Earnshaw coming back for next season?
    If one counts goals per minute played, Earnshaw's rate would have
    easily been the top for the team. Would rather see both of them back
    than some currently on the roster.
    With selected video clips, even Denny Dimwit could look like Einstein, Kennedy may turnout to be a decent player but I don't know if he'll be a game changer.
    In any event who ever is on the front line will still require an attacking midfielder who knows how to pass.
    What the team needs is a 15 goal scorer, not another 8 to 10 goal scorer.
    We have several of those already

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    They're trying to bring Ward back. Earnshaw would only be back at significantly less dollars.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    I'm hoping Y/B can fill the roster with enough new talent to create the "rising tides lifts all boats" effect, aka average players perform better when the surrounding talent is better.

  • I'm trying to reserve judgment but it's tough. I can't say giving DP dollars to a guy who hasn't played in any league bigger than Sweden (whose highlights video, btw, has as many misses as it does goals) inspires much confidence. We'll see.

    Agree with the comments above that any move up top is pointless without work done on our midfield.

  • I think people need to be more realistic. I understand that the track record for recent "under the radar" strikers have been shocking, but if Igboananike was banging in goals left and right as a 25 yr old with all that athleticism there is no way MLS would be able to sign him. MLS is still a league that has to take shots on guys like this, because 25 yr old proven strikers with that pace are playing in the top 4 leagues.

    I'm not saying give the Fire a free pass on the recent failures, but realize that with the state of the league most teams need to take their chances. I'm saying MOST teams because obviously teams with big time owners can offer those bloated contracts that other owners don't. And unfortunately our current owners haven't shown the willingness to go all in, except for Jones last year.

    All that being said, if current ownership/front office don't get this season right, there will be a bloodbath and it will be deserved.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I'm all for taking a chance on players but why do we always take a chance by giving them DP statuses? The left back, fine. He's a left back. But this jabroni was the leading goal scorer in Sweden 5 seasons ago. Can't imagine much difference between him and Quincy. We don't need another 9-10 goal scorer up top. That only works when there are multiple 10 goal scorers. We get one, maybe. The next closest guy is at 5. We don't need another Oduro.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    And was the club really "all in" with trying to get jones last year? I mean he made it pretty clear what he wanted salary wise and the fire said " here's a pretty good offer that's more than others but not quite what you want. Now you make a decision." They decide to bring another team into the mix and look what happened. There is no doubt in my mind if they offered what he wanted, which considering our needs and his talent was realistic, jones would be playing for the fire. Yallop and his team dropped the ball. Last season was a disaster and this off season needs to make up for it. So far he is .5 for 2.

  • Guillermo tweets: "Yallop looking to add players this window rather than summer window".

    Followed by: "Club still looking to add 2 more DPs".

    Hands down the best news out of Firelandia in years.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    The addition of Joevin Jones, along with the news about Kennedy Igboananike, shows that at least a) the scouting network has been busy during the season; b) we'll have some of the new players in camp for spring training; c) there's some diversity to who's being scouted; d) there's a recognition that the team does not just need a goal scorer, but added strength in most positions (well, the prior roster moves tell that story too). Shedding players from last season is not enough. They must be replaced with players who are an improvement, and whose qualities somehow complement the group as a whole both on the field and off.

    I agree with KChance that some realism is in order in making these moves. However, the FO then needs to not blow sunshine where it doesn't belong when introducing their wonderful finds. I hope they're not doing that with Igboananike; I hope that Jones can not just replace 2014-era Gonzo, but get us back to the high-performing Gonzo who was called into the CR national team. I don't think T&T is on the same level at CR in 2014, but they're not a CONCACAF whipping boy either.

    Waiting to see what's next - is the club really going to add a pair of DPs? We've heard that kind of rumor before.

  • fb_avatar

    Who the hell is Joevin Jones?
    Another signing the will stun and amaze both our friends and foes.
    In a way you have to admire the skill it takes to locate such obscure
    players of doubtful ability. He may be an improvement over last season's defenders, but that isn't saying that much.
    While there at it, they should pick up De Rosario, for midfield.
    He might have nothing left in the tank, but at least he has a name.
    Can't wait to see what lazy moron they'll pick up for attacking midfielder.
    They just don't get it, they need a name with quality if they want to excite and motivate the fans. So far their new signings don't past the test. While the new signings may be an improvement, the goal should be making the club competitive at the highest level, not a team that just manages to squeeze into the playoffs.
    How many of the lowball signings in the past fours years ended up as failures. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    The club should stop the bull shit and spend some top drawer cash.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    They can't fill the entire roster with top drawer cash signings. And it'd be a mistake for them to do that on a left back, imo. And just because you don't know the guy, doesn't mean he won't be good.

    On the other hand, the past handful of years have sucked so the general feeling of pessimism in our community is certainly justified...and I've been riding that train all season too. I just have a hard time jumping to conclusions about players I know nothing about.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tweaky:

    They don't have to fill the roster will top drawer signings, just in several key positions, the new signings well may be an improvement,
    but I'm not interested in a team barely able to make it into the playoffs, (next year the playoffs may expand to 12 teams making it somewhat easier) but to be on a competitive basis with the top teams in the league. If the team has solid players to begin with, it only takes one or two top drawer players to make it a contender..
    We're still at the same place for the past four years, needing a quality striker, a solid attacking midfielder, and a quality center back.
    These do not come cheap. Currently, the team has two big "ifs"
    Magee and Nyarko, if they can return to their former level it will be a big help, but after the injuries Nyarko has suffered, it will a miracle.
    Anyway, he won't be in fit condition until near mid season.

  • In reply to Ron Stone:

    How did that go for TFC this past season? Keep in mind this isn't La Liga of the EPL. MLS clubs aren't signing Philip Lahm to play LB anytime soon.

    I understand that track record has led to pessimism, but with how bad the roster was last year, these two promising athletic signings are a step in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, they need a few big name signings but in the current state of the league, you can't have an all-star at every position. But I am in agreement that in key positions they need to go get real, proven quality.

    The best teams in the league all have a system and culture to their play. Food for thought, LA Galaxy have Baggio Husidic and Dan Gargan lining up for them and playing well. Need to get that system/culture in place.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    I think that is the problem. Im fine with signing an unknown left back. Who cares about that. We have Cochrane there to play and he was fine enough last season when he was called upon. The problem that I have is with Kennedy. We have three chances to sign a DP. Look at the track record of the club. Puppo, Anonagano, MacDonald. They were all strikers on lower level clubs before becoming our DP's. The only positive DP we have had was a big name player in Blanco. If we signed Kennedy for non-DP money then he looks like a decent enough role player that can change a game with his speed. We didnt do that. He is instantly compared to all other DP's in the league. I dont see him being like any of those players. DP's should be sure things, not a "let him get used to the league before you judge him" player...

  • The team is making moves and not letting signings linger for weeks/months of speculation. I like the assertiveness. Time will tell whether the players are worth it. There are so many holes to fill that dumping on these first two signings is not worth the angst. I think we will know by late January/February whether the team's re-boot will have any chance of success. The thing I noticed about Kennedy (no attempt to spell his last name yet) in the highlights is that his shot is quick and powerful. He has a cannon. I would not mind if the Fire signed the midfielder who was sending the crosses in to Kennedy in the highlight real. That guy has talent.

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