Diego Chaves in happier times. FC Dallas fans at the top of the photo in much less happier times.
The Hot Time In Old Town crew has been experimenting with new some sidebar boxes in order to improve our coverage and information on the Chicago Fire. One of these sidebars is the Chicago Fire Rumor Mill. If there's so much as a minor hint of Fire related player news, you'll see at least a fanshot thrown up along with some thoughts on how realistic it sounds and how credible the source appears. If you find something our writers have missed, create your own fanshot or fanpost and beat us to the punch.
We don't want to go overboard posting a new story every time there's a small update to an already established rumor (that's what the HTIOT twitter account is for) but the past couple of days have seen a couple of interesting updates to multiple rumors on the hot stove. The latest is after the break.
Chicago did not send out a press release yesterday but team writer Jeff Crandall and MLSSoccer.com's Fidenico Enriquez both wrote stories on Diego Chaves and the Fire 'parting ways'. The stories both cited reports that Chaves had signed with Chilean Club Deportivo Palestino. Head coach Frank Klopas told Hot Time in Old Town reporter James Coston that the Fire don't own Chaves' rights last Thursday. The HTIOT twitter account also mentioned the connection with Palestino on that same day.
Thank you Diego Chaves for the memories. Klopas mentioned the team had been monitoring new Uruguayan striker Federico Puppo for the past few seasons so if it's any comfort, it sounds like it wasn't so much you as it was Puppo's situation changed.
Fellow Uruguayan striker Vicente Sanchez will not be playing for the Chicago Fire in 2012 either. Sanchez signed with a Uruguayan club, Nacional. His rumor started late last year when it was reported that a MLS team had offered Sanchez a contract. At the time, Sanchez was still under contract with Club America. Our Fire based speculation was purely based on Chicago's strong relationship with Club America that was cemented last year with 'A Team For The World' agreement. If there was one MLS team that could quickly get a contract in front of Sanchez, it should have been Chicago.
This might not be the last of any 'Sanchez to MLS' rumors. Nacional's offer to Sanchez was reportedly $40,000 dollars a week; a $60,000 dollar a week pay cut from his $100,000 a week in Mexico. Sanchez went to Nacional citing a desire to go back to Uruguay but that's a lot of money to leave on the table. At 32 years old, Sanchez still has some stuff left in the tank. If the nostalgia trip takes a turn for the worse, a MLS club might be interested in making him a multi-million dollar designated player.
A Christmas day fanpost from iron81 had an article that connected this Spanish midfielder to Chicago. This rumor was quiet for awhile. I assumed it was dead after the Fire signed Rafael Robayo and that seemed an even more likely outcome every day as the chances of Pavel Pardo re-signing with the club increased. Abraham Gonzalez is a defensive midfielder and there just wouldn't be any room for him on team right now. AS.com ran a story this past Friday that kicked up interest though. I could see Klopas originally reaching out to this guy as a contingency plan for some major breakdown in the Pardo re-signing talks but this would be midfield overkill. Gonzalez would not be a wise use of Chicago's last international roster spot.
Greek club PAOK was reportedly millions of dollars in the red when striker Dimitris Salpigidis was connected to the Fire back in December. The club could use a No. 1 striker and Klopas' Greek connections made this rumor make a lot of sense. PAOK has since taken drastic steps to get their financial house in order including selling Portuguese winger Vieirinha. Greek Footy is now reporting that instead of trying to sell Salpigidis, PAOK is actually trying to extend his contract. We can probably all but count this rumor out.
Pavel Pardo & Wilman Conde
Real Espana vs. Chicago Fire - more than just a pre-season game?
The Chicago Fire vs. Real Espana game itself was a bit of a rumor back when iron81 posted a fanshot on December 9. The team made an official announcement on December 19. Kick-off is at 5:00 PM CST on February 4, 2012 at New Orleans' Tad Gormley Stadium. It's billed as a pre-season exhibition but anyone that goes might want to pay special attention to the players for Real Espana.
Karen Cartagena is reporting Chicago is interested in an unnamed reserve player on their squad. She also mentions Daniel Tejeda and Mario Martinez might be headed for MLS. Martinez is a 22 year-old midfielder Honduran international player who was on loan to Belgium's Anderlecht (former Chivas USA Sacha Kljestan's current club) recently. Given the Fire's need for a striker and glut of midfielders, it's possible Cartagena is referring to another Martinez, 21 year-old forward Christian Martinez. Exhibitions between clubs often double as scouting trips but that might be even more true for the Fire on February 4th. If we can get a name, we'll be sure to add it to the Chicago Fire Rumor Mill.