If Adaílton, the Fire's newest defender, is to be believed, his move to MLS is something he's schemed about for a decade.
"I have been watching MLS closely over the past several seasons and ever since 2004 while in France, I made it a goal of mine to play in the United States," the Brazilian center back told chicago-fire.com. "I had other opportunities to join MLS clubs in the past but the timing was not right until this challenge with the Fire."
Adaílton (Adaílton José dos Santos Filho), 31, is a 6-foot-3 centerback whose resume includes time with Rennes in France, Santos in Brazil, and FC Sion in Switzerland, as well as a couple of loan stints. Adailton will not occupy a Designated Player slot.
The next sentence of his quote for the team site that speaks to our hopes: "I look forward to working with my new teammates and Coach Frank Yallop and his staff to take on the challenge of returning the Fire to the Playoffs and giving the Fire Supporters the trophies they deserve."
Hot (Time) take
It's important to remember that this isn't a hacked game of Football Manager. Not every signing is going to succeed, and not every signing is going to be sexy. Adaílton fills a need - 'powerful centerback,' a/k/a the Bakary Soumare role - without breaking the bank, and without leaving too much to hopeful projections of a player's development.
A great deal will depend upon the kind of partnership he and Jeff Larentowicz are able to form together. Larentowicz showed promise as a ball-playing cover back in the second half of the year - to pick an MLS analogue, Big Red played a bit like Matt Besler in the Besler/Collin pairing for Kansas City. If Adaílton can play that Collin role well, stepping into challenges and making life hard for opposing target men, this should work nicely.
That said, it's hard to imagine that Adaílton has been marking athletes of the level he'll see week-in, week-out in MLS in his last playing stint, on loan in the Swiss second division. Here's to hoping!
With eight new players signed in December, and Alex still apparently putting pen to paper, Adailton would put the Fire roster at 22 players. The club still has one Designated Player slot unfilled, and have pledged they intend to fill all three; answering the question of where that final DP will play will make everything much clearer - central midfield? Could Mix Diskerud still be a possibility?