The Fire made the deal official this morning, announcing that Didier Drogba had signed a contract with MLS and was traded to Montreal in exchange for a king's ransom in general allocation money and newly created target allocation money. The acquisition of former Toronto FC forward Gilberto was also finalized and he will be added to the roster as a Designated Player. To make room on their roster for Gilberto, the Fire used TAM to buy down the budget hit of Kennedy Igboananike. Frank Yallop explained the move to buy down Igboananike rather than David Accam, who is listed at a lesser salary in the latest MLSPU numbers update, as one necessitated by the transfer fee paid for the Ghanaian attacker. During his weekly conference call, he also added that the team was "putting our future" into Accam.
Yallop noted that Gilberto has been on the Fire's radar for the last 3-4 weeks while working on talks with Drogba. Gilberto was placed on waivers by Toronto FC when it became evident that Vasco da Gama was looking to cut costs and terminated his loan deal. Although Toronto receives no compensation for a player that cost them a reported $3 million dollar transfer fee, the Canadian club does retain an undisclosed portion of transfer fee proceeds if Gilberto is sold while under contract with MLS.
Although he's not the powerful target forward that Drogba is, Yallop thinks Gilberto is a player that will be able to convert some of the chances that Fire forwards have failed to capitalize on this season. "He's a 9. He's a center forward that runs the line well and he's in the box a lot," said Yallop when asked to describe where he will fit in. Yallop also cited the player's age and potential as a long term fit as positives.
Gilberto is expected to arrive early next week and Yallop hopes that he will be available for the Portland game on August 7. Fitness should not be an issue since Vasco da Gama is in season and he has been training and playing regularly.
The summer transfer window closes on August 6 and the Fire are looking to add at least one more player on the back line. The allocation funds from the Drogba deal should allow them to find someone of quality. "We've been pretty poor in both boxes. Both in scoring and keeping them out. We're trying to get some help at the back," said Yallop. The amount of allocation funds acquired is higher than the $200K we reported last night and a good deal more than the $250K that ESPN reported. How much of it is TAM and how much is GAM we may never know however.
"It's been a tough season so far. No one is giving up on anything here. We've thrown a lot of points away and we've played a lot better than we did last year, I feel. The problem is we've not gathered the points that we should." Yallop should have enough in the coiffeurs now to properly address help in back.
One defender that will not be offered a contract is Will Packwood. The US U-23 defender had been training with the team.
- Harry Shipp has departed for the Homegrown Game in Colorado on Tuesday during All-Star festivities. Yallop said that Shipp could play a half or less in the game.
- The Daily Herald's Orrin Schwarz had some strong thoughts on the Gilberto acquisition and the failed attempt to bring Drogba to Chicago.
Filed under: 2015 Regular Season