Fire add Juninho to midfield mix

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.

Filed under: 2016 Post Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • I love Polster. Gives 100% and is tough. But he is still pretty green and misses a lot of passes. If the Fire can pull off Guardado or Schweini they should go for it.

  • In reply to go fire:

    Well put, completely agree...imagine having depth at cm...what a concept

  • In reply to go fire:

    Maybe then we could play a five man midfield. Poly has to the minutes though. If he gets minutes then he will grow,

  • In reply to go fire:

    He had the highest passing completion percentage on the team for what it's worth.

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    How the heck does the Allocation spot fit into this? I thought that allocation was only for US National Team players coming to MLS. Juninho isn't a US Nat'l. MLS rules are so confusing!!!

  • In reply to Chris Page:

    Anyone correct me if I'm wrong, but i believe allocation also applies to ex-MLS players that had been sold and are returning to the league, regardless of whether they are a USMNT player or not. The Galaxy sold him, so to return to the league, Juninho had to go through allocation.

  • In reply to AJties:


  • I like this signing a lot. Completely agree that the allocation system is way too confusing.

  • That's two positive moves in a week - I am imPRESSED! Suddenly I'm more hopeful for the Fire than for the Bears ('specially after today's game...)

  • This is a move that makes sense. Heard about Juninho looking to come back to the league, and thought "he would be good for the Fire, but they'll never get it done." I was wrong.

    Still doesn't prove that the team will spend REAL $$, or that they can get a genuine, worth the money creative midfielder. Or that the parts will fit together, that the players will adapt to MLS, or that the players won't give up on the team after they've realized how it's run.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Hear hear. Until the polls are closed and the results are in, the only thing that is proven as of today is that the FO can make impressive signings.

    Can't say that I didnt' smile when I saw the news.

  • Merry Christmas everyone!

  • Like this signing quite a bit. Anyone who watched those LA teams could see this guy's quality. Hopefully a piece of the puzzle that can be locked in for a couple more years.

  • So if they sign Schweinsteiger would that make 3 players that play the same position and still no playmaker? Or are they going to try MDL at playmaker again, which I think is a mistake?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    What do u mean?

  • In reply to Firefan5819:

    3 holding midfielders...Juninho, Polster, and Bastian...all 3 play similar styles (obviously different talent levels), not known for attacking least that's how i read it

    Merry Christmas!

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    In reply to AJties:

    I hope this means trying for Guardado takes precedence over Schweinsteiger. But rumors are Guardado is asking big money, so who knows

  • Merry Christmas GR!!! Thanks for everything you do!

  • Futuro de Rubens y Darwin apunta al Norte TRANSLATION: Future for Rubens & Darwin points North (as in MLS). Would not Rubens fill the creative midfield role the fire are desperately looking for? Would he be Scarf-Meal worthy, GR? I have my fork at the ready and my credit card ready to once again become a STH. Thoughts?

  • In reply to FireRog:

    Not scarf worthy....Sambueza will be 33 and isn't necessarily a middle of the field creator. Not sure he'd be my choice to fill their third DP spot. If you could get him as a TAM player, then maybe....but again I'm not sure he fills the need.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I can't remember exactly which player-rumor started the scarf-eating clause, but this brought me a good chuckle.

    I don't think any player they're looking at bringing in would be scarf-worthy nor do I think they'll fill than CAM/creative role. Guardado doesn't do it for me, but I don't think there's any realistic target out there that would be a sure-fire hit (no pun intended).

  • In reply to c0quito18:

    It was Kaka.

  • In reply to FireRog:

    I love that dude. Has the look of a weekend "league bowler", but is a killer on the pitch. The man has a magic left foot. Definitely worth a DP spot.

  • Don't know if anyone saw the blurb on the MLS website yesterday:
    "The Chicago Fire may be shoring up their backline. This Serbian report says they're eyeing Villarreal defender Antonio Rukavina."

    Looking at his background, he might not be a bad addition to the back line.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    Right back, 32 years old, played with Partizan, Borussia Dortmund, 1860, Valladolid, Villareal, 37 caps for Serbia. Not many goals since his first 2 seasons as a pro in Serbia, so he either stays back or plays wide up the field. Not sure about his health, but seems like he could help out, especially since Ramos didn't meet expectations. He captained Partizan, so hopefully he'd add some leadership qualities as well.

    Well, it's interesting to think about.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    FWIW....I haven't heard his name seriously mentioned anywhere.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Seems like pure speculation because he's Serbian and out of favor at his club

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