The Chicago Fire confirmed Tuesday that former FC Groningen defender Johan Kappelhof will join the club, coming on a three-year deal courtesy of targeted allocation money.
FC Groningen first announced the transfer Friday, but receipt of his ITC and P1 Visa will temporarily delay Kappelhof's official inclusion into the Fire squad. Kappelhof, a 25-year-old with Europa League experience, is perhaps the Fire's most exciting addition this offseason along with first-round pick Brandon Vincent and should be a foundational piece of the back line at either the center back or right back position.
The Fire paid a transfer fee for the young defender, though the amount is unknown. It is also unclear how much targeted allocation money the club has put toward Kappelhof's salary, but the Fire acquired a whole bunch of TAM during this year's draft and could still have more for future signings.
Here is some background information on Kappelhof we passed on when news of the transfer first broke Friday.
Kappelhof scored three goals in 123 appearances for FC Groningen over a five-year span, playing a pivotal role in the club's 2015 KNVB Cup triumph. The tournament is Netherlands' equivalent of the FA Cup in England.
Additionally, Kappelhof has youth experience in Ajax, one of Netherlands' most successful clubs, and has made five appearances for the Under-21 Dutch national team. FC Groningen had moderate success during his time there, finishing as high as fifth in the domestic league and appearing in the Europa League twice, including this season's group stage.
If Chicago can land one more European center back, the Fire will have a chance to be much better defensively compared to the unit in 2015. With Kappelhof bringing some high-level experience and entering his physical prime and Vincent possessing national team potential, the Fire's group of veterans should be able to round out the back line well.
With the European window now closed, the Fire might move faster with future player signings as European competition for players' services is no longer a threat. Kappelhof's signing now brings the roster to 21 players and fills the team's fourth of eight international spots.
Here is anther look at Kappelhof's highlights: