The Fire added another potentially important piece to the 2017 roster by signing former Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Juninho on loan from Club Tijuana in Mexico. In order to get him they had to move up in the Allocation ranking after Atlanta passed. Chicago sent their #3 Allocation spot, their natural second round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft, and General Allocation Money to Minnesota in order to complete the move.
The three-time MLS Cup champion was an important member of those runs in Los Angeles and played in 24 games for a successful Tijuana side in Liga MX last season. Juninho, who turns 28 next month, arrives in Chicago on loan but the Fire have an option to buy. Although his salary is above the Designated Player threshold, the Fire will buy his budget spot down with Targeted Allocation Money enabling them to continue to pursue Bastian Schweinsteiger or possibly Andres Guardado. The Juninho signing does not signal that a move for a DP central midfielder is dead. The European transfer window opens on January 1.
Juninho has a green card and will not count toward an international roster spot.
In Juninho and Nemanja Nikolic, the Fire have added two quality players to the roster this week but how they fill the third "DP" spot remains the big question.