It's January. A magical time when all you need is a keyboard and an imagination to send the soccer world into a frenzy.
Messi to Chelsea? Why not! Ronaldo to Malmo? Never say never!
Fire fans know the transfer window merry-go-round all too well. Whether it is Jermaine Jones being poached at the last second or Didier Drogba Frenching his way to the Frenchiest MLS franchise because he would just be too uncomfortable for a few months in a world-class city like Chicago with his millions of dollars if he couldn't get some authentic crepes. (Look, I have a keyboard and an imagination too. That's my theory, I'm sticking to it.)
And it wouldn't be a proper transfer window if the Fire was not linked to some big names that are likely unattainable. Rumors of Carlos Vela briefly surfaced before dying down just to get things started and then Nemanja Vidic rumors put the "big name to Chicago" machine in overdrive.
But it appears Vidic will go the way of Jones and Drogba. It seemed like there was enough there for it to be true. Vidic is Serbian like the new coach Veljko Paunovic, he needed a promise of playing time after his Serie A debacle and his name starts with Vi just like Vincent, Nelson Rodriguez's favorite name.
However, Vidic always preferred a return to the Premier League and with Aston Villa in the mix, it is very likely his little desire to come to MLS is all but gone. Of course anything is still possible, but Vidic signing is now highly improbable.
So let's take a look at the rumors that make the most sense and are most probable in order of likelihood.
1. Joao Meira - center back from Portugal
Meira reportedly told Portuguese outlet Record that he has been offered a two-year deal with the Chicago Fire. I don't know why he would make up a rumor about going to MLS and why he would choose the Fire, so it is likely true. He also fits the bill for what Rodriguez's stated plan, which is bringing in three European center backs. Ideally, a player like Meira would be No. 3 in that pecking order. He has experience in Portugal's top flight, but he was dropped by his most recent club, Belenenses, and has a failed drug test on his resume.
At 28 years old, he is probably worth the gamble and should get his opportunity. But the signing would not scream no-doubt-about-it starter.
2. Haris Medunjanin - midfielder with Deportivo La Coruna
This rumor comes courtesy of Spanish sports site Marca. According to the report, Medunjanin's La Liga club REALLY wants to get rid of him. The manager has kept him out of recent competitions and the club is focused on unloading Medunjanin's contract. This signing would also fit with Rodrgiuez's vision, which included bringing in some international experience to the midfield. I think it would be a great fit.
The Fire's midfield is build on potential with only Harry Shipp and Matt Polster as sure starters. David Accam could play in the midfield, but if Paunovic opts for a 4-4-2, Accam could also play at forward. Either way, the team desperately needs a steady presence. With the loss of Razvan Cocis, the Fire would rely on Michael Stephens, Collin Fernandez and Kingsley Bryce. I think it would be great for all those players to get time and develop, but the team also needs someone it can count on to be steady, not spectacular.
Cocis filled that role last season and now Medunjanin could be an upgrade. He has been a solid player in European leagues and plays with the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team. Medunjanin contributed to the team's 2014 World Cup run as well. He has 43 goals in 269 career appearances. The Fire could face competition for his signature from Maccabi Tel Aviv, for whom Medunjanin previously played.
3. Marcin Kaminski - center back with Lech Poznan
This is no longer even a rumor as Rodriguez confirmed to the Sun Times that the club has had discussions with the 24-year-old center back. This would be a major coup for the Fire as Kaminski is a young, sought after center back that has already helped his team win the domestic league, qualify for Champions League play and appear in Euro qualifiers with the Poland national team.
Kaminski would immediately be the best center back on the team and could be a core piece for year's to come because of his youth. But I fear this could be the most difficult signing for the club to make.
Rodriguez has said multiple times the team is competing with Champions League clubs for signings and some of the Fire's targets are waiting out the process to see what offers might come. I don't think it is a stretch to say Kaminski is likely the player waiting out the transfer window to see what other offers might come his way. It is very possible at the end of the day the Fire will not have enough to compete with a bigger, European based club.
Any other rumors of note? Who would you like to see join the club?