As has been rumored for quite some time, the announced today that they have signed Brazilian midfielder Alex Monteiro De Lima on a free transfer from Swiss side FC Wohlen. The 23-year-old will be added to the Fire roster upon the opening of the summer transfer window on June 27. There are 11 games between now and Alex's arrival. This should be viewed as a mid-season signing.
Hailing from Sao Paolo, Brazil, De Lima began his professional career with FC Gossau during the 2009-10 Swiss Challenge League campaign, scoring two goals in 18 matches for the St. Gallen-based club. Following his initial campaign, De Lima transferred to FC Wohlen where he's tallied seven goals in 44 appearances the past two seasons for the north Swiss side.
Quotes and more analysis are after the break.
"Alex is a special player that we're proud to add to our roster," said Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas. "After having the opportunity to see him play for Wohlen last year, Alex joined us for part of our preseason where he showed the ability to contribute to our club."
"I'm looking forward to joining the Chicago Fire during the summer transfer window," said Alex via translator from Switzerland. "I hope that my skill and experience will assist as the Fire push for a MLS Cup Playoff spot. Loic Favre and Wasserman Media Group were instrumental in bringing me to Chicago and connecting me with the club during the preseason. I am excited to rejoin Frank and the team in June."
Given a pass to join the Fire during phase one of the club's 2012 preseason, De Lima appeared as a trialist in two matches for the Fire earlier this year, a 0-0 draw vs.on January 29 in Ft. Myers, Fla., and a 3-1 victory over Honduran side Real C.D. España. Alex played in Sebastian Grazzini's role all throughout preseason. He will join the team as the backup to Grazzini the club just doesn't have right now. His signing shows Klopas' commitment to the 4-3-1-2 formation. It also raises some interesting questions about who will be on the bench.
Right now the subs are, , Federico Puppo, and . That's without Chris Rolfe in the equation. You figure , Chris Rolfe, Grazzini, , and start. Then you are left with four offensive/midfield sub spots for , Paladini, Robayo, Alex, Barouch, Puppo, , and anyone else left. The three remaining bench spots would go to the backup GK (Paolo Tornaghi), the backup central defender ( ), and the backup defensive wingback (Hunter Jumper). That's a lot of depth. Too much depth in my opinion. I think we'll see another roster move coming.
Alex's signing means the roster is now full at 30 players. It also means that all 8 international slots are being used. If I were Klopas, I would trade Marco Pappa or Corben Bone who could bring in some much needed defensive depth. The scales of depth are deeply in the favor of offense right now.
Player: Alexandre Monteiro De Lima ("Alex")
Height: 5'8" (1.74 m)
Weight: 155 lbs. (70 kg)
Born: December 15, 1988
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Last Club: FC Wohlen (SUI)
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent on April 26, 2012 (Will be added to Fire roster on June 27)