Leicester City's reported offer of just over $1.1 million USD to Wigan for Scottish midfielder Shaun Maloney was turned down last week and interest from Everton and Cetlic haven't kept the Fire from remaining optimistic that they can secure his signature this January. Despite reports that Maloney prefers to stay in England it appears that he is very receptive to playing in the United States and the Fire currently have the best offer on the table. With a contract expiring this summer, Maloney would be available on a free transfer in July but Frank Yallop is looking to get as close to a complete roster as possible this preseason.
The Fire began speaking to Maloney this past November and an offer has been on the table since December but Wigan continues to search for the best possible deal as they are currently struggling to stay afloat in the Championship. Last week, Yallop discussed the possibility of adding another impact player this winter and Maloney is currently the main target. He was also one of the first players identified as a possibility during Yallop's post season trip overseas.
UPDATE 1 PM: Time for plan B?
This report out of the UK claims that Leicester has upped their bid for Maloney and won the race for his signature. The final transfer fee is reportedly over $1.5M US. If true, the Fire will need to move onto another plan for the third DP spot rather quickly.
SuperDraft this Thursday
The Fire are hopeful that the Maloney situation can be resolved this week with the SuperDraft approaching. The annual selection process takes place on Thursday beginning at 11:30 AM CDT. There is generally a good amount of wheeling and dealing during the SuperDraft and the Fire could be active depending on what their needs are going into the day. The general consensus is that the club still needs to improve and add depth in the back despite the additions of Adailton and Joevin Jones this winter. Yallop wasn't able to land his top choice centerback after his "scouting/recruitment" trip so there could be movement for that position either via the Draft or trade within the league. The final day of the Combine in Florida is today.
No Little Pea
With silly season in full effect rumor and speculation make for good "click" fodder. Several recent reports indicate that MLS attempted to pursue Manchester United forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez this winter only to be rebuked by the player due to his desire to stay in Europe. Two of the interested parties named in the reports are the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire.
While the Fire's technical staff has inquired into the cost and possibility of acquiring Hernandez it should be noted that no formal offers were tendered and the interest was exploratory. There's a big difference between looking into a possibility and actually making an offer for a player requiring that large of an investment. Hernandez seems like a player who would be a big draw in MLS but it's not likely that he's willing to make the move right now despite riding the pine for most of his time on loan at Real Madrid.
Fire Confidential Podcast
We'll be recording the first podcast episode of 2015 at Saturday's Section 8 Chicago ISA Annual General Meeting. The AGM begins at 1pm and will be held at Toyota Park's Stadium Club. The Independent Supporter's Association will hold annual elections for chair, vice-chair, and marketing. Stay tuned for more information on guests for the podcast later this week. You'll probably want to catch this one.
News and notes
- Mix Diskerud has signed for New York City FC as the expansion club has used the top allocation spot to nab his rights. The Fire are currently fourth in the allocation order behind Montreal, San Jose, and Colorado.
- After Grant Ward's loan deal expired and his purchase option was not picked up it seemed unlikely that Ward would return with the club exploring other options for occupying their available international roster spots. Yallop had expressed some interest in bringing Ward back but it looks like the young midfielder is staying with Tottenham this upcoming season. HTIOT has more on Ward's situation. The Fire currently have 6 of 8 international spots spoken for.
- Defender Patrick Ianni has announced his retirement after nine seasons in the league.
- David Accam and Sean Johnson will miss the start of training camp as both players are with their respective national teams for the next several weeks. Johnson will be with the USMNT from now until February 8 if he makes the roster for two international friendlies. Accam has made Ghana's roster for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament which also concludes on February 8.