It’s transfer season again in Major League Soccer, but will the Chicago Fire be active?
The summer transfer window in MLS opened on the Fourth of July. The first thing that means for the Fire is that Michael de Leeuw is finally eligible to play.
The Dutch forward is set to make his debut Saturday in Toronto. Coach Veljko Paunovic kept things close to the vest when asked how much de Leeuw will be used and how he will fit into the team.
“Michael is in his last week of preseason, if I can say it like that, in preparation for the competition,” Paunovic said. “He is doing very well. He will be for sure in the roster for the next game. We will see how we are going to manage his load for this game.”
De Leeuw’s debut comes at a time when the Fire’s roster is as healthy as it has been all season. Paunovic said during his conference call with media on Tuesday that Matt Polster, Collin Fernandez and Arturo Alvarez, all players who missed the win against San Jose, are fully cleared to play.
In addition players like John Goossens and Rodrigo Ramos, who was named to the MLS Team of the Week, are playing their best soccer of the season. Paunovic has his full roster to pick from and a highly-paid addition in de Leeuw ready to debut.
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Is there anything else brewing for the Fire? General manager Nelson Rodriguez previously said he didn’t expect the team to be very active in this summer window. However, that was before Gilberto and the team started down the path that led to the mutual termination of the Brazilian’s contract.
The Fire now have cap room and an open Designated Player spot to work with. For now, Paunovic, who usually doesn’t give away much when it comes to player acquisitions, stayed quiet.
“Of course there are some interesting players around the league, but right now we are focused on our team and our players,” Paunovic said.
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MLSSoccer.com’s Matthew Doyle wrote instructions for each team in the summer window. For the Fire, Doyle said the biggest need was midfield creativity, but said the team should remain patient and build towards next year.
Fire fans probably don’t like the idea of being more patient, but it makes sense for any move the Fire make to be geared towards the future and any short-term boosts the team can get this year should be viewed as secondary.
Time will tell if the Fire decide to make a big move this window, in the winter or at all.