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The internet and soccer talk shows have been abuzz the last few days with rumors about a possible transfer deal that would send midfielder Marco Pappa from Chicago Fire to FC Twente. I have written several posts about how integral Pappa has been to his club over the last couple of seasons and how large a part he would play in the rebuilding of the Chicago attack in the years to come. However, with USMNT player Eddie Johnson's return to MLS, things could change significantly for Pappa and the Fire.

Eddie Johnson is a 27 year old striker who started his career in MLS before moving across the Atlantic to play for Premiership side, Fulham. He has bounced around on loan a few times and today it was announced that Johnson has returned to MLS. He will have to go through the allocation order which has Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo, and Toronto FC as the only three teams ahead of Chicago Fire.

With regards to Chivas, it has been reported that Juan Pablo Angel will be sent to Chivas from LA Galaxy in order to free

up a spot for newly the acquired, Robbie Keane. If that does indeed happen it is unlikely that Chivas would pick up Johnson, which leaves Houston up next.

Houston Dynamo have recently brought in Honduran Carlo Costly to play at the front of their attack. It would appear that this move would prevent them from signing Johnson due to budgetary and roster space constraints. If Houston passes on Johnson then the choice goes to Toronto FC.

Toronto already has a roster full of forwards who have proven to be an integral part of their club and their attack, so it seems highly unlikely that they would make the move to pick up Johnson either - passing the choice onto the fourth team in line, our Chicago Fire.

As the roster currently stands it would seem unlikely that Klopas and the front office would want to bring Johnson in. We have a number of forwards as well in Dominc Oduro, Christian Nazarit, Orr Barouch, and Diego Chaves. However, of those four, only Oduro has proven to be an integral part of the offensive attack for any prolonged period of time this season. Nazarit and Barouch have shown flashes, and are still incredibly young,  great players to keep developing, but not necessarily players that we can turn to for big time minutes and goals at this point. Chaves continues to be a mystery, having gotten off to a strong start to the 2011 campaign but he has subsequently lost his starting role and clearly has not made a huge impression on interim manager Frank Klopas as of late.

 

The recent acquisitions of midfielders Sebastian Grazzini and Pavel Pardo threw the roster situation into chaos because supporters and media were wondering where they would play in Klopas' formation. Klopas has tweaked his formation a few times since taking over the on-field duties back in June, and his latest formation was a 4-4-2 that featured a duel striker combination of Patrick Nyarko and Oduro. Behind them were  Grazzini and  Pappa, with Pardo and captain Logan Pause playing the holding mid positions.

Where would Johnson play? Well, as of right now it doesn't appear that there is a spot for him. But if Pappa were to be moved to FC Twente, Klopas could potentially move Nyarko back to Pappa's spot and plug Johnson in as the second striker up front with Oduro. This is all based on a lot of what if's and is obviously nowhere close to anything but guesswork, but the big question is, would the Fire be a better team if they made these moves?

It's tough to say, really. The attack looked very good at times with a Nyarko/Oduro duo at the top, Nyarko showed a lot more than he has throughout most of this season. Would he benefit from moving back into a midfield role? Would the Fire benefit from shipping Pappa on to FC Twente? In all honesty, I'm not sure. I'd love to see a Johnson/Oduro pairing at the front, I think it would be electric and a lot of fun to watch. At the same time, I'm not sure if I'd welcome seeing Pappa leave Toyota Park and I don't know how Nyarko will play if placed back in the midfield.

On an unrelated note, for all of you video game fans - the new FIFA 12 video was released today and you should check it out here. I can't wait.