Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez gave some rain delay theater to some members of the media during Wednesday’s weather delay at Toyota Park. Rodriguez gave updates on where the team stands and what might happen in the current transfer window.
First, he said the team could end up being more active in this transfer window than originally planned. The later than hoped arrival of Michael de Leeuw and the departure of Gilberto have changed things since Rodriguez said the Fire wouldn’t be active in this summer window.
“We had some targets that we had identified for January and we are looking to see if we can accelerate any of those targets,” Rodriguez said. “That’s a little trickier because some of the clubs we’ve spoken to, we’ve spoken to on the basis of January. Do they have enough time to find a reinforcement if they make the move with us? The second thing that we’re trying to do is look within the league. I don’t want to say we’ve had advanced discussions, but we’ve had lengthy discussions on a few players within the league to see if we can reinforce the squad that way.”
Rodriguez said in some ways he prefers to acquire players from within Major League Soccer because of their familiarity with the league. He described those players as “potential starters” for the Fire.
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As he has said before, Rodriguez talked about the team’s need for a “bigger personality.” He cited de Leeuw’s competitiveness as something that goes along with that, but believes the Fire need more in that area.
As for the big question of the moment, the team’s open Designated Player spot, Rodriguez said it was possible the team could add a DP before the end of the season.
“If and when we find the right match, my answer is yes,” Rodriguez said. “I think one of the nice things that we have right now is that ability to strike with budget space, allocation, TAM (targeted allocation money), DP slot, international slot. Everything is available to us that if we find the right player, the right circumstance and if it fits in this window we can do it if we choose to.”
Rodriguez said a lot of the players from outside MLS the Fire are looking at have contracts that would expire in a year. Those players would have had only six months left on their contracts in the MLS offseason in January, meaning that transfer window would have been the last window for the current clubs to get anything in return for them before the contract expires.
As for what position the Fire need, Rodriguez mentioned a playmaker type is high on the list.
“I do believe that we need another provider in midfield,” Rodriguez said. “We’re also looking for a midfielder who creates and scores goals. Both. Those tend to be more expensive, those tend to be harder to get but I think that that is a piece that would really accelerate our improvement as a team if we could find it.”