Maloney set to join the Fire

The speculation is over. Frank Yallop got his man.

Shaun Maloney was one of the first players targeted as a possible addition during Yallop's post season scouting mission and after a long courtship the deal is done. A source has confirmed to Fire Confidential, a BBC report this morning that Chicago and Wigan have agreed to a transfer fee for the player. Maloney will join the Fire for preseason rather than in July when his contract is set to expire. Contract terms had been settled after Maloney turned down a move to Leicester City and agreement on the transfer fee was all that remained. "We've agreed terms with Chicago Fire for Shaun to leave imminently, so that is something that is going to be happening in the next day or so," Wigan manager Malky Mackay told BBC Radio Manchester. "There's a financial situation and I'm respectful of the club's position - I've got to be prudent in terms of the saving that we will make on Shaun's wages and the transfer fee that can then be put to other things."

Pending the completion of league paperwork, the transfer will be finalized and Maloney will be the third Designated Player added to the roster this winter. Despite rumors and reports overseas that Maloney was headed elsewhere, Yallop remained confidently hopeful that a deal would be struck to land him in Chicago. "In talks with Shaun, he wants to come to us,” Yallop said this past Saturday on the Fire Confidential Live podcast. “It’s just obviously Wigan have the player and they own him until July. We’re just trying to work something out. I feel we’ll get something done, whether it’s yes or no, in the next two or three days, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

This time, the Fire got it done.

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  • This is great news. It would be very cool if Celtic played a friendly against the Fire this summer (even though I think friendlies in mid-season are a huge distraction). I think the fact that Yallop insisted on pursuing Maloney so he could arrive pre-season is a very big sign that things are changing in Bridgeview. The past regime would have tried to play games and bring him in in July so they could nickle and dime the salary costs. If this means anything, I think it means that the owner might be losing the financial battle internally. Maybe he will sell this summer when Maloney is leading the league in assists? My fingers are crossed on that front as that is the transaction that will really get me excited about the Fire's future.

  • So...we really did something RIGHT?

  • This is a relief. The transactions have been really encouraging this offseason. Getting three legit (by salary) DPs in before preseason, bringing in some local guys, getting St Louis lined up as an affiliate, bringing in another Homegrown... I'll wait to see what hapens on the field but this is progress.

    And you can't argue that Yallop is looking to play the same style as in San Jose. There's one guy on the team who can do that - do Prado - and he's not even looking to be a starter. So now that he had a chance to build the team, he did not build "Bash Brothers 2."

  • In reply to Modibo:

    progress indeed. i'm actually a bit shocked, almost confused...after years of maybe 1 weak DP, and holding off until mid-season when we are already behind the 8 ball to try to make a big upgrade, we are starting the season with 3! it also begs the question why it took so friggin long...

  • Interesting read. Orlando City had targeted Matt Polster in the draft and offered $75k in allocation money and the #22 pick for the Fire's #7 pick.

    http://m.mlssoccer.com/superdraft/2015/news/article/2015/01/22/behind-scenes-mls-superdraft-orlando-city-sc-word

  • So. About that third goalie spot...

  • The Fire have announced that three trialists will join the team for the start of camp next week.

    Defender Bryan Gaul, who recently signed with Saint Louis FC, was the latest open tryout winner.

    Goalkeeper Mark Pais, is also a Saint Louis FC player.

    Belgian Defender Joachim De Wilde, was the open tryout runner up.

  • Maloney will be worth the price of admission and Accam looks capable of the same. I still think the Fire would be stronger with Soumare at CB, despite his lapses. 18 draws last season suggest that our strikers were the issue. Every lapse in defence cost the Fire points and a better attack would have won many of those 18 draws.
    I'm hoping an attacking midfield can shield our poor back line just by virtue of possession . I will certainly attend more games this season.

  • As nice as this is to get Maloney here, he's 32 I believe. It would be really nice to have players like this here for more than a couple years to build some relationship with the city and fans. Do you think he can still go 3-4 more years in this league? Not sure how old Keane was when he came here, but he's got to be on his 3rd or 4th year in the MLS and I think is 34 and still gets up and down pretty good.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    Keane was 31 when he came over. At 32 Maloney probably has 2-3 very good years in him if he remains healthy.

  • In reply to Bumsteer:

    to be fair, the two other DPs are 24 (Accam) and 25 (Igby). I think it's good to get a seasoned vet to add to the mix and maybe be a leader a la Arne.

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    This great news! I still have questions about his age and health but at this point I must say things are looking up.

    Great job Guillermo - this is the place to find out what is happening.

  • In reply to Robert Suarez:

    Thanks Robert.

  • Guys. This is fantastic news. I have to hand it to Yallop he has done a good job.

  • Hopefully, the critics who were unmerciful in their criticism (and at times name-calling) of Yallop will back off and give the man a chance to fully implement his plan/vision.

    After all, the man does have two MLS Cups, two MLS Coach of the Year Awards, and a 2012 Supporters Shield on his resume.

  • In reply to MisterH:

    He built a heck of an attack for this season, but his somewhat suspect and derivative tactics as well as the lack of solidifying the backline will mean that critics still have a foothold despite the improvements made.

    I don't think anyone is unwilling to give this team and Yallop a chance at this point, but expect the critics in full force if the Fire experience a slow start, particularly if it's a result of poor defensive showings.

  • In reply to MisterH:

    Are you happy with the defense going into the season? We only have one RB on the roster. 2 of the 4 defenders have never played in this league. One of our cbs has played in midfield his entire career. Our midfield is mediocre at best. We had a terrible middle of the midfield last season, and they are all back. While it's nice to bring in players before the season starts, I don't think Yallop is a coach that will take us to the promise land. I want him out. This signing doesn't change anything in my mind. I want the team to do well. I will support them. So, Yallop out.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Yes, I am happy with the defense. Yallop addressed the problem areas in the backline with Adailton and Jones. Best defense is a good offense and Yallop addressed that issue too with Maloney, Accam, Iggy, and Guly. Plus, the two time coach of the year, two time MLS Cup winner, and supporters shield champ has the whole preseason with HIS team to build chemistry.

  • In reply to tomwhitt:

    Adailton, according to wikipedia, has played 4 games in a year and is 31 years old. He will be playing next to a central midfielder that is now a CB. I think Big Red is a good enough player to do a job for the team but he is a central midfielder. Those attacking players you mentioned need to get the ball somehow. That is going to be hard when the players behind them are the players that we have.

    Lets not forget that Yallop took the 2013 team, that finished with 49 points and almost into the playoffs to a team that set the record for most ties and finished with 36 points. And you say HIS team, like last year wasnt HIS team. He brought in a lot of players last year, and moved a lot of Klopas' players. Hurtado, Ianni, Palmer, Cocis, Watson, Cochrane, Nyassi, Fondy, Earnshaw, Pongolle, Shipp (Fell into his lap), and Ritter. He was the guy that signed MATT FONDY to our team. MATT. FONDY. He also drafted Franco with the 13th pick and he couldnt even last one season with the team. He got rid of Berry, Anibaba, Duka, Rolfe, and Hurtado(again). Then, with the 7th pick this season, he takes a guy that was not projected in either of the first 2 rounds. So I have little, to no faith in Yallop's ability to find good players for this team. So, again, Yallop out.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Btw....just a side note to the convo. Orlando City tried to trade up to the #7 spot to take Matt Polster.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    1. Larentowizc was drafted as a defender, so I'm assuming he played there in college. I think central defense is less foreign to him than you make it.

    2. RB is probably the only position on the back four I am completely ok with. Palmer was an adequate starter last season and Gehrig is adequate backup. No need for more depth than that really as Watson is still there for emergency purposes.

    Other points are valid. Center mid is still a worry of mine, although it's apparent I rate Cocis higher than you do. Don't trust Yallop's signings at the back after the Hurtado debacle thus don't trust Adailton nor Jones. I'd still say give Yallop 10 games at least but I understand the frustration.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I think we have similar thoughts with you being a little more optimistic than me. Big Red is a good enough player to do a job at CB, but he is a CM. There was enough time and money available to find 2 good CB's this off season instead of bringing in an endless amount of forwards. I also agree that Palmer is a good RB. That wasnt exactly the point I was making. If he were to get hurt, which can easily happen to an attacking minded RB, we will be in trouble. I have no faith in Yallop.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    I've kept tabs on Gehrig while at cbus because a friend of mine played against him while growing up, so it interested me that I was one degree of separation away from a professional MLS player. From what I've seen he could be a starter at RB at an MLS level. Not a great starter, but it's kinda like Anibaba when he was behind Gargan in depth. I'm ok with that.

    I think to say we have the same concerns but I'm slightly more optimistic sounds just about right, haha.

  • In reply to MisterH:

    Maybe the biggest thing Yallop has going for him is he has somehow convinced Scrooge McHauptman to release his tight grip on his wallet and has agreed to three DPs prior to February. It's a medium miracle. (Klopas has to be thinking, why didn't I get that financial/roster support?!) Yallop has completely shifted and shaped this roster now, so it'll be fun to see how it plays out. I was hard on him last year, ready for pretty much anything this year...just hoping this offensive emphasis isn't too out of balance.

  • In reply to Tweaky:

    Not sure it's just like Klopas had a direct line to Hauptmann, you have to remember there was a middleman... Bliss is a soccer guy, he knows what he's doing, and Yallop doesn't have to deal with what Klopas must have had to. What I see is a strange reluctance to spend on defense. Yallop was a defender. Does he think he can coach the current lineup into being a solid MLS defense? It's curious.

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