The summer transfer window in Major League Soccer opened just a day ago and the Chicago Fire are already being linked to a potentially big move.
Following up on a pair of previous reports, ESPN's Jeffrey Carlisle reported that the Fire are in line to sign Colombian playmaker Juan Quintero. Quintero, 24, has been under contract with Portuguese club FC Porto, but has been on loan the past two years after struggling to break into Porto’s lineup.
He has a World Cup goal on his resume (in 2014 against Ivory Coast), but won’t come cheap. His age, and the fact that Porto paid $10 million for him would make him an expensive addition.
ESPN's Taylor Twellman first reported the Fire were in the mix to add Quintero.
Paul Tenorio reported that the Fire have Quintero’s MLS discovery rights, which means the Fire could flip his rights to another MLS team to get some form of MLS assets (likely allocation money) if they aren’t the ones to seal the deal. Orlando had also been connected to Quintero, but Carlisle's latest report said Orlando has dropped out of the running.
If it happens, the move won't be simple for multiple reasons that don't even include the negotiations with Quintero and Porto. First, the Fire already have the league maximum three designated players (David Accam, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic). That means the Fire will have to buy down Accam's salary against the cap using one of the newer league mechanisms, targeted allocation money, to open up a DP spot. Accam has the lowest salary of the three Fire DPs.
On top of that, the Fire will have to do some maneuvering to either acquire or free up another international spot. The Fire currently have all eight spots filled and that doesn't include midfielder John Goossens, who is currently not counted because he is on the disabled list since getting hurt in the season opener. If Goossens remains out all year the Fire will still have to trade for an international spot, trade away or cut loose a player currently taking up a spot or have a player receive a green card to count as a domestic player. Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said in May that one player may receive his green card by the end of the summer window, which closes Aug. 9.
Quintero would be a high-profile addition to both MLS and the Fire in a very different way from Schweinsteiger. Schweinsteiger was a world famous international name with a proven track record. Quintero is a player entering his prime who has played, and scored in, a World Cup for a strong national team in Colombia. Plenty of teams around Europe would take him so it would be a notable get from that perspective for MLS, which is trying to change its reputation from some as a league where former stars finish their careers.