Frank Yallop needed only one regular season game to determine his midfield was incomplete.
Rumors are swirling that the Chicago Fire have taken advantage of what seems to be a complex Spanish screw up to land Victor Perez Alonso - a 27-year-old midfielder from Levante by way of Real Valladolid. But who cares about those teams, he was a product of the Real Madrid academy! So he's got to be amazing, right?
Well, from what I have read about him in the short period of time since the rumors have surfaced, he could be an important piece for the Fire or he could have a hard time carving a niche. Most Fire fans were probably hoping for someone like Arevalo Rios to come sauntering into the picture, but Perez seems much more Cocis than Rios.
While listed as a defensive midfielder, all reports point to Perez being a box-to-box type midfielder that fits the role of a No. 8. That's not to say the Fire could not use another No. 8 on the roster. Players such as Cocis, Watson and Stephens have not laid any strong claim to the spot and Perez could come in and easily outplay them all.
Perez does bring a nice resume, experiencing both the top- and second-tier Spanish leagues. He has played for Getafe B, Alcorcon B, Alcorcon, Huesca, Levante and his current parent club Real Valladolid, where he is found the most success with 11 goals on 87 appearances. For his career, Perez boasts 18 goals in 173 appearances.
How did this potential gem fall into the Fire's lap? Well, Levante screwed up. Levante apparently hoped to land Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz in January and was willing to kick Perez off the roster to make it happen. But FIFA blocked the move because it was initiated too late and Levante could not bring back Perez, who was already listed off the roster.
This whole situation poses a murky long-term future for the 5-9 midfielder in Chicago. The loan is reportedly good until June 30 with options to extend six months and then a year. Whether Levante tries to complicate that issue remains to be seen. More importantly, the Fire's salary cap room may not allow for Perez to stay past June 30.
Because of the messy situation surrounding the transfer, Chicago is apparently paying next to nothing for Perez who in another scenario could be viewed as a Designated Player. That is certainly a steal. But again, long-term, it might not be possible.
Friday's showing was a reminder the Fire can never use enough midfielders. There is already a lot of hype surrounding the Perez move, but it's important to keep expectations in check. He has less experience than Razvan Cocis when he made the move to Chicago, but is also younger and has had the opportunity to play in Spain.
Perhaps the Spaniard is the missing piece or at least a bolt of energy in what seemed to be a sluggish midfield.