SuperDraft approaches as Fire near deal for Maloney

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.

Filed under: 2015 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • If they manage to close the deal with Maloney that raises even more questions for me as far as formations and starting 11.

  • Whoops

    http://m.goal.com/s/en/news/7939372?ICID=HP_BN_2

    "Leicester win race for Wigan forward Maloney"

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Didn't see your edit.

  • I'm starting to fall into a bit of panic mode about our back line, or lack thereof. Unless there is another game-ready Austin Berry waiting to be snagged in the super draft...

    Are there any international windows that Yallop/Bliss could be waiting on to sign someone?

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    The Euro transfer window is open all month. The MLS window actually doesn't open until Feb 12.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I'm with you, BrianC. On paper, I like the guys they're bringing in on offense. But we're leaving Sean John hung out to dry for another season. Who in midfield is going to protect our weak centerbacks?

    And I don't think drafting a CB is the answer. Austin was great his first year and deserved the ROY award. But when Friedrich left, he seemed to lose his way. We don't have a solid career CB to pair with a talented rookie at this point, no offense to Big Red.

  • 1.5m ? I have seen him play, he's worth it, and while not super creative, he would have brought a true professional back into that position for us. Would have been a hugely underrated signing, but one of the best I believe. Should have upped it.

  • Another link on Maloney to Leicester.....

    http://m.bbc.com/sport/football/30807011

  • This was a move in the right direction. Lets try again. There are plenty of guys this level all across Europe that speak English that should cost the same.

    What sets him apart was his winning history at Celtic and a recent FA Cup championship.

  • Good move for Leicester City as they fight to stay up. I don't blame Maloney for wanting to go straight to the Prem and probably straight into the first 11. If they don't stay up, he can still come to the Fire. If they do, all the better for him. I believe he was being paid pretty well playing in the Championship even though his salary was probably cut when they dropped. Sorry to see him not come to Chicago. At 31, he's got a few good years left.

  • One concern: in Wiki bio there is a brief story about his homesickness when first leaving Scotland for England. Given that Chicago is just a bit further from "home", better make sure that he really wants to come!!!

  • In reply to shortpasses:

    I wondered about the stories stating that he'd prefer to stay in England. Never said he wanted to stay because of concerns about the level of play - seemed like he's a bit of a homebody. If Maloney was unsettled by moving from Scotland to England, who knows how he might've felt about Chicago.

  • Okay we have two guys that can score which is good. The problem is our midfield and defense are awful. I have tried to go through the east coast teams to see where the fire stands with their current talent. It honestly doesn't look good about the only east coast team that probably has less talent and are generally screwed up is the red bulls. Hope I am wrong.

  • fb_avatar

    This team - this club - appear to be in complete shambles. No wonder no one wants to come here to play. More and more it seems like a 2nd rate, 2nd tier organization.

  • In reply to Robert Suarez:

    They've been 2nd tier for about 5 years now, IMO. These recent efforts are too little, too late to get them back into the top rung of MLS teams, at least in the short run. 2nd tier organizations can still make it to the playoffs, though.

  • I feel like we're going through the off-season version of the 2014 season. The highs! The lows...

    Too much.

  • So is there a plan "B" now that Maloney is not coming to Chicago? Or is this going to be another time to scramble for players like what happened in August?

  • MLSsoccer did their preview of Chicago's draft needs, in which it was noted that no one seems to have any idea what formation Yallop and Co. are shooting for.

    Any ideas?

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    I still think they're best suited for 4-3-3 as currently set up. More on that this weekend.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Hey, at this point who do we rate higher in midfield. Watson or Stephens if we were to play a flat 3 in the 4-3-3. You figure Cocis and Shipp would be locks to play the other mid slots.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Stephens.

    Or someone better even please.

    I also thought 433, but others seem to think fullbacks on the team are too weak.

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    More on this soon. Yallop touched on this a bit during media conference call today. See my Twitter time line.

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