Fire notebook - rumor rundown, internationals, and more

With mostly silence emanating from Toyota Park over the last few weeks, it’s a sure thing that January will be a busy month. There are currently 15 players on the roster but there’s no guarantee all of those names will be around come the first day of camp in just over four weeks either.

Rumors are circulating that David Accam’s training stint with Stoke City signaled an intent to move there this winter. Numerous reports indicate that Stoke is interested in the Ghanaian attacker, but he doesn’t have enough international caps to qualify for a work permit in the UK. Regardless of whether or not there is an actual offer from Stoke forthcoming, Accam has been eyeing a move back overseas for several months and it shouldn’t come as a shock if the Fire move him.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that last season’s leading scorer is gone. The Fire aren’t likely to agree unless they at least recoup their initial $3 million dollar transfer investment. The rumored Stoke bid is supposedly in the $4.3 million range, but the permit and visa issue would be a stumbling block.

If it’s not Stoke or the Premier League, Accam is said to have interest from other teams/leagues overseas as well.

More rumor rundown

Reports out of Greece placed the Fire in pursuit of Olympiakos striker Alan Pulido last week. Recent stories have him drawing interest from the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City SC, and the perpetually mentioned Los Angeles Galaxy. The Mexican forward is young, but he would be a gamble and the alleged asking price is ludicrous.

Carlos Vela is apparently staying with Real Sociedad for the time being. Since MLS and his agent were unable to come to a deal regarding a transfer fee, a proposal has yet to be introduced to Sociedad, who are looking to keep him until the end of their season as they fight to stay above the relegation zone. Expect the talk to heat up again during the summer window.

Former Colorado Rapids centerback Shane O’Neill has ended his stay with Belgian club Royal Mouscron-Peruewiz and has returned to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. The Rapids sold him to Apollon last summer and immediately loaned him out but he did not record one minute of playing time with his new club. His future apparently has yet to be determined with MLS mentioned as a possibility. The 6’-2”, 22 year old would seem to fit the Fire’s needs and he has family in the Chicago area. He’s also been a part of the US U-23 squad that Matt Polster has featured with.

USA

Speaking of Polster and the U-23’s, Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to announce his squad soon for the upcoming annual January camp. He has already said that the camp will include senior team veterans in combination with members of the U-23’s in order to begin preparing for one last run at Olympic qualifying and World Cup qualifiers. There’s a good chance that Polster is one of those invitees considering that he was a regular starter for them last summer. Sean Johnson is also a possibility for the camp, which begins on January 4 in Carson, California.

T&T

Joevin Jones has received a call up from Trinidad & Tobago for their upcoming Copa America qualifying match against Haiti on January 8. Former Fire defender Daneil Cyrus will also be there.

U12’s impress

The Fire’s U-12 Academy team participated in what was billed as the world’s best U-12 competition last weekend. Held in Miami, the International La Liga Promises Tournament featured the top 17 international youth teams from Europe, Asia, and America.

The Fire side, coached by Charlie Trout lost 1-0 to Valencia, and Sevilla 3-1, but trounced Club America 5-0.

On the move

A pair of former Fire forwards appear to be on the move.

Free agent Chad Barrett has landed with the San Jose Earthquakes and Didier Drogba appears set to leave the Montreal Impact to join Chelsea’s coaching staff.

Trading Drogba’s rights to Montreal for what essentially was a ton of mostly league funded funny money appears to look like a good deal right now although it would cost Chelsea some form of compensation.

Yaro going pro?

Georgetown junior defender Josh Yaro is seemingly the consensus first overall pick if he decides to make himself eligible for next month’s SuperDraft and it appears that may be the case. The Washington Post’s Steve Goff reports that Yaro has hired an agent in order to begin professional pursuits.

The 5’-11” defender has excelled at centerback in college but many project him as a right back. The Fire can use help at both positions.

Current and former HG’s

Former Fire midfielder and Homegrown signee Victor Pineda has found a new team in the NASL. After playing with Indy Eleven last season, he has signed with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Collin Fernandez trained in Spain with Valencia this winter. He talks about the experience here.

Filed under: 2016 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • Guys losing Accam is something close to a disaster. but honestly who can blame him.

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    Obviously they dont want to hold onto him if he is set on leaving but yea, that would be painful and be cause for further concern about the organization (can't hold onto talent even when he was very recently aquired). He is worth waaay more than $4.3 mil to the Fire, the club which has spent millions and millions on failed DPs.

  • Believe that hiring an agent means Yaro lost his remaining college eligibility, so his options are now MLS or Europe.

    The Fire Academy also lost to Sevilla 3-1. Barcelona defeated Valencia a couple hours ago in the Final 4-3.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Yes. He supposedly may have some Euro interest.

    I missed the Sevilla score in the post. Corrected.

  • Losing Accam would suck. It should be no surprise that he's set his sights on playing in the Premier League, but that's exactly what he's been saying he wants to do over the past couple weeks in the Ghanaian press.

  • I don't blame Accam one bit for seeking better opportunities. What does concern me is that the Fire has become the equivalent of an airport layover for international signings which does the team more harm than good when it comes to recruiting.

  • Players come, players go. I'm kinda surprised by the Stoke business. The opinion that seems prevalent among their supporter base is that Accam is Championship-level quality, but not exactly Premier. But, more to him for shooting high.

  • Per Dan Santaromita on Twitter covering the Fire for CSN:

    Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez on Accam: "I don't really understand where the rumors have originated or why they even exist. We've had no discussions at all with Stoke or any other team for the transfer of his services."

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Correct me if I'm wrong but this kid seems like a complete mouthpiece for the Fire.

  • In reply to seaside:

    I don't see it, personally. I do think almost all beat writers for the major outlets like the Trib, Sun Times, and CSN are all pretty vanilla. They don't rock the boat much. It's mostly the blogs where you'll see a more nuanced look at teams from writers that aren't afraid to ruffle feathers or express opinions a bit (but I think Guillermo is even careful with what he says as he has to answer much more for his words than say you or I. I actually do remember Guillermo commenting way back in the day when we was just a lowly blog commentor like you or I and he had some (more) sass in him).

    Netting it out...you get writers for team websites that are true mouthpieces. Then you get your major outlets that have beat writers that report news more than anything (like that quote above). And then you have the bloggers who bring more nuance and analysis. I think Santoromita seems to be following along pretty traditional job roles in the few articles I've read of his.

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    Shane O'neill is an interesting prospect. His folks run the only soccer pub here in Boulder (CO) called Conor O'neills and are some nice people. I think he was a Rapids homegrown and remember it being a big deal down in Boulder when he went pro a few years ago. I'd love to see the Fire give this kid a go.

  • So where might those Accam rumors originate?

    Let's try David Accam.....

    http://pulse.com.gh/sports/dream-david-accam-eager-for-premier-league-move-id4495098.html

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So is the FO being honest with us?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    As far as I know, there is currently no offer from Stoke.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    What about from other teams around Europe?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    No offers yet. January should be interesting.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    They are going to have to add an average of about 1 player every 2 days, no?

  • Don't blame Accam at all but it would also be a punch to the gut if he left.

  • Guys does anyone think that it is possible that our New Jersey based Gm is just unaware of Accams desire to leave the fire. I know in my business I am very close to our most important customers. It would make incredible sense for nr to have had a lot of dialogue with Accam.on the other hand nr's experience as a Gm was preparing a team for a sale. Maybe hopefully maybe the brass at the mls have recognized that ah doesn't have the passion or the brains to run a successful team and they are preparing it for a sale. It's strange that during the Christmas period a time when there should be opportunities to sell tickets the fire office has been closed.

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    The MLS season is a long grind and the time off between Christmas and New Years is important to recharge staff. It was quite honestly the only time every year where I could keep my laptop shut for a couple of days in a row. Even though I was "off" during the holidays I still ended up working, just a little less.

    If someone wants to buy tickets they can do so on the website or when I'm guessing the Fire office reopens on January 4.

  • How much did Andy pay MLS to post this "news" item in French???

    http://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2015/12/30/droit-dans-le-mur-chicago-d-ception-de-l-ann-e

  • Everybody on the business side is no-doubt off until Monday Jan. 4th, when it all starts again for the 2016 season.

    Is there a Fire "media side" left since the conversion to the MLS Soccer - mlssoccer.com - approach? Somebody "there" has been posting a Fire video thing every other day or so - even with nothing substantive to talk about until wheeling and dealing starts again on Jan. 1st/2nd.

    DA seems to be in self-promotion mode. Remember DA was brought in by FY, since FY was removed as head coach DA apparently has no loyalty to the FO and/or the curent staff. Other teams saying that they are interested in DA isn't the same as picking up the phone and contacting the Fire FO. NR certainly knows that DA was clearly the Fire's best player last season; but we won't know DA's future with the Fire until the plan becomes more obvious and/or the Fire lays it out for us. To expect the Fire FO to tell the world their plan BEFORE they have had 2 or 3 years to develop it is at best impatient.

    Also, it's got to be disconcerting to any professional player - especially someone young and from overseas - to try to play for a club which has a small but ridiculously vocal slice of the "fan" base conducting a constant sh*t storm towards the Fire FO in general and the owner in particular.

  • In reply to southsidefutbol:

    Sure it's disconcerting, but the owner and FO has largely created the situation themselves.

  • In reply to southsidefutbol:

    I'd expect anyone coming from overseas to be quite accustomed to hearing from critical fan bases.

  • Per Goal.com, the Los Angeles Galaxy are set to sign Jeff Larentowicz.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    If true...whatever. Big Red gave all he had to the squad, and was a solid player for years, but he's lost a step and isn't going to be a huge loss. I wish him well but ain't losing sleep over it.

  • Is there a reason why CSN is getting all of the exclusive N-Rod comments?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    I'm guessing The Fire pay CSN for TV time and part of their deal is to get favorable coverage from a beat writer that they put in place. Noticed Fire communications staff playing up the new guy on Twitter before he replaced Danny Michallik.

    Get someone young with no track record and give them access that no one else gets. Because you're "giving them a chance" and you're basically paying for them to write about you, they're going to write favorably. I'm guessing seasoned journalists like Guillermo or Orrin Schwarz would have asked follow ups of Rodriguez yesterday, so why risk that when you can just get the young impressionable kid to spread the word for you, "independently"?

    With the dwindling media interest that already exists for this team, it's a pretty farcical situation, but not all that surprising.

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    I for one will be glad to see Big Dead gone, he always looked like he had a piano on his back!! Nelson said at the season ticket holders party he will be moving to Chicago. Let's give him a chance to build a roster before we crucify him.

  • In reply to Keith Woller:

    Agreed on all fronts. I think the Fire are not alone in the number of open roster slots. It will be an exciting or disappointing January. Fingers crossed.

  • While Jeff was not a great defender, he was by far the best CB we had last year. And remember he was defensive mid that Yallop moved. I'm not sure it was his choice. None the less, he played with as much energy and heart as anyone over the last few years and for that I respect him.
    -F-

  • In reply to Folsom23:

    That ain't sayin' much. Then again, I blame "I'm comfortable with the defensive lineup" Yallop for that.

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