The Chicago Fire have announced that Uruguayan midfielder, Egidio Arévalo Ríos, has joined the team on loan from Italian club Palermo. The press release can be found at Chicago-Fire.com. Here are some of the interesting details from the press release:
Though the club will have to wait on the clearance of an international roster spot before he can play, the 31-year-old box-to-box midfielder is expected to join the team as a Designated Player with the club also reportedly holding an option on his contract going into 2014.
The Fire need to clear an international spot? Say goodbye to Sherjill MacDonald. I could be wrong on that, but I think getting rid of Sherjill seems to be the most obvious move.
Any questions about his fitness level were quickly turned away by Klopas with Ríos adding, "I feel good. I’ve been in Mexico training with a fitness coach under a program from the national team on small-sided fields training in high-intensity, taking touches with the ball all the time and with teammates."
After a year of Sherjill, I'm pretty sure Frank is tired of answering questions about the fitness levels of his designated players. It's good to hear that Rios has been training during the off-season. He shouldn't be too far out of shape since he was just playing for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup a month or two ago. Hopefully he can get into game shape fairly soon so he can be ready to play once we off load Sherjill to the Dayton Dutch Lions or whoever will take him.
Overall, I like this move. I agree with a lot of other folks that the Fire need more of an creative attacking midfielder, but getting a player of Rios' caliber would be a big upgrade. Logan Pause has been struggling with injuries this season. Alex and Daniel Paladini are inconsistent. Jeff Larentowicz is the only solid, reliable central midfielder the team has.
The Fire's midfield gets pushed around fairly easily. The most recent games against Sporting Kansas City, Vancouver Whitecaps and Houston Dynamo are perfect examples of that. If Rios can adjust to the style of Major League Soccer quickly, this move could really strengthen the Fire midfield and help the team claw it's way into the playoffs.