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.
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 MLSsoccer.com.
- 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.