Fire 2017 update: Schweinsteiger, GK, HGPs, rumors and more

Bastian Schweinsteiger is still a Manchester United player, and he likely will be for at least a couple more weeks. The Fire continue to stare down Jose Mourinho and ManU in a game of high-dollar chicken. Chicago/MLS still wants Schweinsteiger and the player is ready for a move but Manchester United plans on holding out as long as possible in an effort to draw a big enough transfer fee to recoup some of the money they’ve invested in signing him.

MLS isn’t looking to pony up a substantial transfer fee and Manchester United doesn’t seem interested in a big money buy-out either. Mourinho included Schweinsteiger in his game day squad this past weekend to give the indication that the midfielder could still figure into his plans but he didn’t get off the bench. The team is currently experiencing a run of good results ahead of an FA Cup match this weekend and Mourinho seems intent on holding firm to waiting out offers for players in this window.

As the next two weeks go by and the window closing approaches at the end of the month, he’ll be faced with the prospect of a player sitting on his bench occupying a hefty $17m annual wage with another year left on his contract. It’s fairly obvious that Mourinho has little intention of playing Schweinsteiger in meaningful minutes so the Fire may have to wait out the process if they are intent on adding him. Manchester United couldn’t draw the offer they were looking for during the summer window and buyers know that they’re still trying to move him.

Chicago doesn’t have much of a window to wait either, if they’re looking to have as close to a full roster as possible for the beginning of camp on January 23rd. There is some time remaining before an ultimate decision needs to be made on whether or not to move on to Plan B, but not much.

Anyone looking for a quick resolution either way here will have to wait a bit longer.

Johnson’s replacement

Trading Sean Johnson left the Fire with one goalkeeper under contract on the roster. They’re close to adding another in Uruguayan Jorge Bava but they may not be done adding players  at this position. It’s possible that another goalkeeper could be added via the draft or from within MLS to supplement the addition of Bava.

The 35-year old ‘keeper is a veteran of South American soccer. He’s played in Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and Colombia and also played one season at Atlas in Mexico.

Bava would occupy one of the current two remaining international spots on the roster.


The Fire have four potential candidates for Homegrown deals this winter. The University of North Carolina freshman duo of Cam Lindley and Mauricio Pineda are possibilities but may be better suited playing another year in college. Another pair of players at Indiana University could help the back line in the not too distant future. Junior centerback Grant Lillard appears to be the closest to helping the first team. Sophomore fullback Andrew Gutman is also highly regarded but likely a year away. Expect decisions there within the next two weeks.

Collin Fernandez was scheduled to be away from the team until mid-February but now he will be available from the start of camp. Fernandez will not be eligible to play for Peru’s U20 team in the upcoming South American Youth Football Championship because the Federation hasn’t finalized the citizenship paperwork needed in order to qualify him for the tournament. Fernandez can now compete for a spot in Fire camp with an eye towards a potential loan for substantial minutes somewhere.

Silly season silliness

Transfer windows always bring out rumor and speculation. Some of it is based on nothing. One of those nothing rumors is a report claiming Fire pursuit of attacker Giuseppe Rossi. Cross that one off the list.

Sources indicate that Serbian right back Antonio Rukavina has not signed and has not been offered a contract contrary to reports out of Spain. The Fire appear to be looking elsewhere for fullbacks at the moment.

Keisuke Honda isn’t on the Fire’s shopping list either. All indications are that he will play on the west coast if he does come to MLS this season.

Forget about Carlos Vela and Andres Guardado (for now) as well.


  • The MLS player combine begins this coming Saturday in Carson, California. Expect rumors and trade talk to heat up then as technical staffs gather to prepare for the SuperDraft on January 13th. Competitive matches will be streamed at
  • This year’s Generation Adidas class has been announced, along with seniors signed going into the draft.
  • Former Fire and 2013 league MVP Mike Magee has announced his retirement after fourteen seasons.
  • Two new Designated Players have joined the league since the start of the new year. Columbus has added centerback Jonathan Mensah and Sporting KC has signed winger Gerso Fernandes. (I can only imagine the outcry if the Fire had signed either of these two as a DP)
  • The Fire have picks #3 and #11 in a SuperDraft that appears to have some depth available in defense.
  • David Accam apparently didn’t make the cut for Ghana’s squad in the upcoming Cup of Nations tournament.

Filed under: 2017 Pre Season

Tags: Chicago Fire


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  • fb_avatar

    Bava worries me a bit as he has appeared to bounced around a lot of clubs. Kinda have to wonder why that is.

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    In reply to Jimmy Garcia:

    Good point about him doing a substantial amount of club hoping. I hadn't done too much looking into Bava's history but that could be a red flag.

    The main issue I have with him is that he'll occupy one of two remaining INTL roster spots which will sure make the January transfer window even less exciting. That's especially tough to swallow considering that the US is actually known for producing decent GK prospects...

    The fact that he's 35 tells me that the plan is to draft a young GK this year and let him sit and learn for a year or two. I'm ok with some sort of vet to mentor a kid and keep Lampson on the bench, I'm just curious why Bava? Then again I find myself asking "why" entirely too often as a fan of this organization.

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    In reply to Joe Brancato:

    Yea, I have to agree that this is a head scratcher of a signing. Plenty of US keepers in the league that wouldnt take much to get, a few abroad, etc... Not a lot of big names but I dont think Bava is a big name really either so why waste the International slot? If resigned wouldnt Ramos also occupy an international slot? I dont think Solignac would but maybe I am wrong...

  • In reply to Carl Miller:

    Solignac and Kappelhof could have green cards which would open 1 more international spot and leave 2 available.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    So what is it that makes some players more eligible for green cards than others? I get that some may obtain them via having an american spouse but I think all Chicago players with them are probably getting them through the job offer route. I looked it up but couldnt make any sense of it ( but it just seems if a couple can get them, why cant just about all of them get them other than that the government only give out so many every year.

  • Is solignac coming back?

  • In reply to cf97TID:

    Solignac should be back at a lower rate than his option price.

  • fb_avatar

    Any update on the extension of the loan with RB Rodrigo Ramos?

  • In reply to hannadewisco:

    Ramos is a maybe.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    It'd be nice to have Ramos back. I'm not sure what his off the field issues were but he's young and kids make mistakes. He has been decent on the field so far and I'd try to buy him outright, give him another year or two and if his problems continue trade/sell him.

  • Happy New Year Everyone! Hey G, what is Fernandez' best position on the pitch. CM next to Juninho? Take the place of de Leeuw as a CAM? Out wide like Accam or Alvarez?

  • In reply to go fire:

    Best suited as a left sided or outside mid.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I've been meaning to ask: what is CF's tie to Peru? Mother? Father? (I didn't get the memo when it was originally sent.)

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    His dad has Peruvian lineage.

  • Thanks for the update!

    Think you typed Victor when you meant Mauricio in the HGP section.

  • In reply to seamuslush:

    Thanks....I sure did.


  • Hopefully we can get Bava as a one year rental. A good goalkeeper and very experienced.
    Lillard and Lindley are two HG That's I really want. Both can help out the squad greatly and add some youth/depth

  • Solignac re-signing is official.

    Two year deal with an option for a third.

  • I would like to see both Solignac and Ramos return. Ramos has great skills and will be even better after having played in the league. Solignac works so hard and can finish (at least can finish better than his predecessors). I truly believe that bringing back as many players as possible while improving the squad with newcomers is seriously important. We have had so many new players come into the team it is if we have fielded an expansion team for the last 4 years. Continuity should not be undervalued.

  • In reply to Krasov:

    I like bringing back Solignac, especially in light of the recent 2 high-profile signings (and hopefully getting one or two more.) I think we might be able to take advantage of that rising-tide-lifts-all-boats effect when decent players benefit from the higher talent around them and perform at a higher level themselves. I'm hoping that Solignac repeats the good that he did last year or better, even as a sub.

  • In reply to BrianC.:

    I agree on the rising tide lifting all boats. Remember Austin Berry?

    On a side note - I often feel like the Fire's winning tradition has long since faded, but apparently the club itself feels that its history ended in 2012: - scroll all the way down.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    On that last point, I would say it's pretty accurate. =)

  • GR I remember in past instances that the FO has been caught with its pants down when transfer targets didn't work out due to the kind of gamesmanship that's going on with BS, and they couldn't sign anyone.

    Is there any sense from NR that there are other irons in the fire, and/or that there's a deadline for when they pull the offer to ManU and go for someone else?

  • In reply to Modibo:

    I get the sense they're looking at other options but I'm not sure what the timeframe is for ending the Schweinsteiger stand off. I would think that time will come somewhere in the next few weeks.
    I wouldn't be surprised if they don't use that 3rd DP spot until the summer window.

  • This is the latest from Mourinho:

    "Mourinho said that another fringe midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger, "will stay" and "wants to stay" and could face Reading. The German has still only made one appearance -- as a late substitute against West Ham United in the EFL Cup -- under Mourinho."

    The article goes on from there with a little more information (

  • In reply to jrpaine:

    The best thing about Mourinho is that he says it all with a straight face. They've been trying to unload him since summer.

  • Leverkusen shopping Chicharito around?
    Just sayin'. Maybe the mayor of Cuernavaca can throw us a lifeline.

  • In reply to Doug:

    Chichorito is long shot and is useless for us.

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