06 October 2011
Posted in Chicago Fire
A few hours before the Open Cup final I saw a tweet from Jeff at Chicago Fire Blog that had a picture of a British tabloid claiming that Rio Ferdinand was thinking about a move to the US and that the Chicago Fire were the team interested in bringing him here. I asked Jeff if this was a legit rumor and he told me - quite correctly I think - that it probably had no credibility. A few hours later MLSRumors posted the rumor along with a comment from the Fire that basically said they loved Rio but had no intentions to bring him here. I made a comment - basically in jest - that the Fire had the exact same response about Pavel Pardo right before he signed in Chicago.
A couple of days have passed since this rumor surfaced and I've been trying to ignore it as crazy, but now it's popping up all over the place. So, let's talk about it. A little while later the Portland Timbers blog Slump Town Footy posted an article that pretty much summed up my feelings on the rumor - that is to say that it's not very realistic and that no team would pay that kind of money for a defender. The reasoning being that if you're going to spend DP money to bring in a marquee name that you're going to spend it on an impact player, a midfielder or forward.
First of all let me say that injury concerns aside, Rio is a brilliant player. Any team would love to have him on their back line but does it really make sense for the Fire to go after him? No it doesn't and thankfully I highly doubt that they will.
The Fire need to make a few moves during the offseason but defensive help is not where these moves need to be. Just look at how well the defense has played most of this season. Even in the earlygoing when the offense couldn't produce goals the defense was the main reason the Fire were able to come away with draws in games they may have otherwise lost due to a lack of scoring.
Overall I'm satisified with our backline. Where we need help is in the midfield. The US Open Cup final proved a fear that I've had for a while about this club. We have a very good starting XI right now, but unlike the other large clubs around the league, there is a huge drop-off from the starting XI to the bench. This was exposed during the Open Cup final when Sebastian Grazzini couldn't go and Frank Klopas was forced to use Daniel Paladini in the midfield in his place. I like Paladini a lot, but as I've said before he is not the guy you want starting in the midfield if you're going to be a dangerous team in this league. The first thing the Fire FO needs to do is go out and get another solid midfielder to spell Grazzini and fill in when he needs a day off. There can't be a huge drop-off from starter to substitute.
Pavel Pardo has been a huge addition to this club but he was only signed until the end of the season? Will he return? I think if he wants to he has a contract for next season, but as our newest writer, Chane Keller, pointed out to me, Pardo might be considering retirement after this season. I honestly think Pardo will come back for one more season, but we still need another midfielder to be the long term solution. Even if Pardo comes back, next year will likely be his last and wow look it we need someone in here to train and get first team time so that they are ready to step in when he leaves.
So, we need two new top class midfielders, but what else does the Fire FO need to do in the offseason? Well they need another midfielder. That's right, a third new midfielder. Why?
Everyone knows Marco Pappa is looking to move to Europe, and we came very close to that happening during this latest transfer window. If the window had been open another 24 hours, Pappa may have never gotten his hat trick against RSL last week. I do not believe Marco Pappa will be wearing the Fire kit when they take the field next March. We need another midfielder to fill in his place. Now, maybe if Pardo comes back we can get away with two new midfielders and using them in a rotation with Pause, Grazzini and Pardo, but the corps we have now won't work if we want to be competitive. Baggio Husidic and Paladini are two of my favorite players, but they are not long term solutions. What about Corben Bone?
I don't think we've seen enough of Bone to know what we have there. I'd be a lot more comfortable with the FO going out and acquiring a couple new, studly midfielders to help make this team deeper and more complete.
Is Rio Ferdinand coming to Chicago? I highly doubt it. Quite honestly I really hope not. I think it would be a waste of money that we can use elsewhere. I know the FO wants to bring in marquee players to help boost ticket sales, but this isn't the way to do it. Put a good product on the field and ticket sales will take care of itself.
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