Sending Harry Shipp to Montreal has opened up a spot in the line up for an attacking midfielder capable of serving in a playmaker's role behind Gilberto. Fire Confidential has learned that Chicago is going back to FC Groningen in pursuit of another player from that squad. Centerback Johan Kappelhof could be joined by former teammate Michael de Leeuw. The 29 year old Dutch attacker has posted some impressive numbers, 43 goals in the Erevedisie, since joining Groningen in 2012.
He is apparently one of several Euro-based players the Fire are considering but no deal has been struck yet. With a contract expiring this summer, de Leeuw has publicly expressed interest in going abroad and realizes a dream of playing in the Premier League or Bundesliga may be just that. This past January, he acknowledged that now would be the time to make a move if he's going to do it. China has also been mentioned as a possibility.
Sources have also indicated that a deal for de Leeuw could be more complicated than just working out a transfer fee for the player or signing him to a pre-contract now. The Philadelphia Union own his MLS Discovery Rights, so any move to Chicago would require some negotiation with Earnie Stewart and the Union.
de Leeuw seems to be one of several possible acquisitions on the attacking side targeted by the Fire. Center mid, attacking mid, right mid, and forward could all use reinforcement. With less than three weeks remaining until the MLS season kicks off, Nelson Rodriguez and Veljko Paunovic are still working to add key pieces to the squad. de Leeuw would be a big addition, but there are hurdles to overcome.
Filed under: 2016 Pre Season