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.
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.
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.
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.