With the summer transfer window quickly approaching MLS clubs are looking outside of the league for reinforcements. The Fire have been in the market for an upgrade at the striker position for what seems like an eternity with last year’s mid-season designated player addition Sherjill MacDonald falling out of favor and Dominic Oduro being shipped out to Columbus. Mike Magee seems to have filled a hole and the club now appears to have a reliable finisher who can play up top but they aren’t stopping with Magee.
Fire Confidential has learned that the Chicago Fire are pursuing former West Ham striker Carlton Cole as a designated player. Cole wasn’t offered a new deal with the Hammers after seven years with the club and has other offers to play in Europe but is interested in continuing his career in MLS. He scored only twice in 27 Premier League matches last season but the year before he tallied 15 in 43 games as West Ham fought their way back into the top flight from the Championship level. He has scored in double figures twice while in the Prem (10 goals each season in ’08 and ’09 campaigns) and has represented England at the international level.
At 6′-3″, Cole would provide a target forward with the physical characteristics necessary to succeed in MLS and would also give Frank Klopas another “look” to pair with either Magee or Chris Rolfe up front. Cole will turn 30 in October and has been relatively fit and injury free throughout his career missing time only during the ’04 and ’09 seasons due to knee injuries. Reports out of the UK have placed the Fire’s offer at somewhere in the $1.5 million per season range but those numbers are unconfirmed.
Klopas confirmed the Fire’s interest this morning after training, telling MLSsoccer.com that as far as he knows the club hasn’t made an offer just yet.