Source: Gilberto likely done in Chicago

The Fire return to full training next Monday after taking a week off during MLS' "Copa America break". One player that is not likely to be back at Toyota Park with the squad is Brazilian forward and Designated Player Gilberto.

Following last Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers, coach Veljko Paunovic told media that Gilberto had asked for personal time off two days before the match and permission was granted for the player to take a leave. Paunovic added that Gilberto was expected to return with his teammates on June 6 following the break.

Fire Confidential has learned that the club is now in the process of negotiating a departure and possible buy out of the remaining portion of a contract that expires after this season. It appears that Gilberto has played his last match in Chicago.

How the move would impact the team's current budget is a concern. MLS roster rules state that "a club may buy out one player who has a Guaranteed Contract (including a DP’s) during the offseason and free up the corresponding budget space. Such a buyout is at the MLS club’s expense."

The rules and regulations also outline the penalty for a buy-out scenario during the season stating, "A club may not free up room in the salary budget with a buyout of a player’s contract during the season. In the case a team buys out a player’s contract during the season, the buyout amount will be charged against the club’s salary budget."

The Fire are pressing the fast-forward button on Gilberto's eventual departure since it seemed very unlikely that he would be back in 2017. Getting that done now however, doesn't give them room to pursue a player of comparable stature or salary this season.

Nelson Rodriguez's plan of being active in the coming January window rather than this summer seems to be in motion.

Gilberto appeared in ten games last season after being claimed off waivers as the consolation prize for losing out on Didier Drogba. He scored 5 goals and added 2 assists in those ten appearances. This year has been a disaster for him as he continued to battle through minor knocks. He failed to score and assisted twice in 9 appearances this season.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • His impending departure also reported by the Daily Herald and @FireInsider twitter account.

  • Gilberto being an epic failure is probably the biggest suprise for me this season. Him having one foot out the door was expected. That said, I cant see the benefit of buying him out at this point. What is the difference between this and having him "with the team" the rest of the season other than they won't have a warm "Fondy" body to toss in.

    Is this an instance of the FO tryng to show that they are proactive? And trick here we arent realizing? Loophole that only NR knows about?

  • In reply to TomazPP:

    Without knowing how much TAM is left in the kitty after signing Kappelhof and de Leeuw with those funds it's difficult to say what they'll do.

    It does seem possible that they could buy out Gilberto with cash and they take the cap hit. They could theoretically use TAM to buy down a half-season DP player that isn't insanely expensive.

  • Was there any truth to the league forcing Gilberto on the Fire as a consolation prize for Drogba wanting to play in Montreal?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    He wasn't forced on them. He was a back-up plan to Drogba. They knew Drogba had chosen Montreal and it was a matter of getting the compensation. The league kicked in most of that $300k. The Impact actually paid very little of it.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    For some odd reason it just doesn't make sense. Hear me out before you make any conclusions. It first started with TFC signing Altidore and Giovinco giving them 3 DPs which led to Gilberto being loaned to Vasco. During the summer Vasco cancelled the loan which meant that Gilberto was going to go back to TFC which would make their roster not compliant with league rules. TFC couldn't buy any of the DPs down because they didn't have enough TAM and this was not what it was made for. In comes the league to the Fire asking them to drop the whole Drogba thing in exchange for the allocation money and Gilberto in order to make TFC roster compliant. Just a thought because it seems as though all of the dominos align for this to happen because after all the league wants what is best for the league.

  • In reply to penapirata:

    If the Fire didn't claim him on waivers (they had first dibs), someone else would have.

  • Clearly something was not working which probably made Gilberto fairly angry at the situation. If he takes a buyout for less than his remaining salary in order to leave, I would accept that. I thought he would be really good this year given his performance last year and his work ethic during preseason. I feel bad for him in a way because he could not be given the space and time with the ball. The guy needs the freedom to move around between the midfield and up top as a true #9. Under Pauno he really could not do that which seems to be the reason he was not happy. At the end of the day except for his NY performance I felt like he gave his best but his best was not very good this year.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I also thought he would be much better than he was this season.

  • Wow, what a bad situation all around. I also thought that Gilberto would be much better this season. That has not happened. I am not sorry to see him go. What a waste of a DP slot.

  • What a total train wreck the Chicago Fire soccer team has become. I really hope that Peter Wilt can organize a team that can demonstrate some pride for the city of Chicago. I really wonder why I am still a fan of Chicago soccer after seeing every Chicago team that I have cheered for either folding or becoming completely irrelevant. I do remain a huge US soccer supporter. Can't wait for one week from today when the national team comes to Chicago!

  • Can't we just trade Gilberto for another player instead of wasting our money on buying down his contract? Also what players (instead of de leuw, calistri, and Igbo) you think can replace Gilberto?

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago22:

    Two things.....can't trade him within the league until July 4 and you'd have to find a taker for a forward making over $1m who hasn't scored one goal this season.

    Haven't heard any names yet.

  • Am i wrong to assume this is a personal issue that has made him want to leave for the rest of the year? I saw the report on asking for time off. It doesn't make sense to me that he would just all of the sudden demand to be done for the year just because he is unhappy with the team. Regardless the reason, another huge success from the new regime. Does it become a 5 year plan now?

  • Same story, different regime...

  • Guillermo how do you think de leuw will fit in the league and do you think he can start helping the fire quickly, or will it take time for him to settle in and start scoring?

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago22:

    I see de Leeuw helping but not being a huge impact player. I think he can fill a role similar to what Mike Magee can bring to the table.

    They still need a playmaker or facilitator for a link and service to the forwards.

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    What a joke!!! Just when I think this organization can't get any worse. So now we go through the next 3 games with only 1 forward on the roster who is not a rookie. If we have any injuries in that span, we'll end up seeing Nick LaBrocca starting at forward!

  • fb_avatar

    I am sure they bought him out so they can get

  • My MLS picks:

    phi clb tie
    dc sea tie
    por sj por
    nyc rsl rsl
    dal hou dal
    la kc la

    47-75 for the year.

    Happy USOC, everyone.

  • Mid week picks
    Philadelphia over Columbus
    DC and Seattle draw
    Portland over San Jose
    Real Salt lake and New York City draw
    FC Dallas over Houston
    Los Angeles over Sporting KC

    50-83 after another horrendous 2-8 weekend

  • Why isn't there a conference call today?

  • In reply to DavidFromChicago22:

    They're off this week. No game, no conference call.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:


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    GR, so let me get this straight, the Fire would rather payoff Gilberto to not play the balance of the season instead of paying him to play! I guess when you have a dynamic offensive with so many exciting high scoring forwards to choose from it makes it a lot easier! Let's say he is due 3/4 of his $1.1 million or around $800K give or take, they would rather eat that than have a viable option over the course of this long season. I don't get it? Yes, I know how much less than the $800K is he is willing to take to walk I don't know, but it is not his fault! Midfield service to a true number 9 does not exist on this team, not now not in a hell of a long time. Sooner or later NR will figure it out. GR, I have a homework assignment for you, both NR and Ernie Stewart (Philadelphia) started with the assignment. Turn your damn teams around, build a damn winner! Same salary cap etc. drafted after the Fire, and look how they have both gone in different directions. How has this happened? Please analyze for poor and unwashed, and please more than the Phily owner took a chance on a a different European than the Fire did. Their President/ GM, Director of Player Procurement is more favorable than a MLS lifer "hoping" to fulfill his dream of being GM. The Chicago Fire is not "training wheels" for executives who want to ride play with the big kids!

  • In reply to Bob Bilocerkowycz:

    I'll take a look at that.

    We don't know for sure what their cap situation or allocation money status is since MLS doesn't release those figures. The move to get rid of Gilberto appears to be one meant to clear a spot for another player, whether that's a TAM level player or a bigger DP now remains to be seen.

  • Gilberto is a decent player. He is a guy that can get you 8-10 goals a season. He works hard and has a decent enough touch on the ball. He is comparable to Quincy Amerikwa. The only difference is Gilberto is making 800k more than Quincy. He was a terrible DP signing. He would be a fine regular player signing, but as a DP he is a terrible signing. Gilberto is never going to be the guy that can carry a team. He is never going to put the team on his shoulders and drag them along until they figure it out. He should have been bought out before the season started. Now we are stuck with his salary until next year. There is no way that Gilberto was the leading man for this "3 year plan." The people who are running this club have done nothing to improve our club since they took over. They are making the same mistakes as the previous people and the light at the end of the tunnel is the train heading right for us. We are in a world of hurt. We will be lucky to get to 30 points this season.

    Also, the two teams that finished directly ahead of us last season are currently sitting in first place in each conference. In this league, you can make HUGE improvements if you make the right moves and bring in the right people. You don't need a 3-year plan in this league to make improvements. You dont need to slowly rebuild in order to compete. In this league, you can just go out and do it for the next season. This 3 year plan is garbage. What young player will want to come to Chicago to play for this team? Who is the last player that came to our club and improved as a player?

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