The much rumored signing of Dutch striker Michael de Leeuw is finally official.
The 29-year-old FC Groningen product scored 46 goals over the last four seasons for the Eredivisie club, leading the club in scoring for three of those seasons. He is a bit on the small side at 5'10", 148 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the physicality of the MLS game.
The Fire signed de Leeuw to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth. They used Targeted Allocation Money for the signing in addition to $50,000 in General Allocation Money that was sent to Philadelphia for the discovery rights. Because of the summer transfer window, de Leeuw will not be able to play with the Fire until July but he can join and train with the team once his Visa issues are sorted.
I can't lie and say I am excited or overly optimistic about the addition. Perhaps he becomes a proficient goal scorer in the league and leads a resurgence for the Fire in the second half of the season. Perhaps he is just another swing and miss in the international striker department for Chicago.
The team needs more options behind an ineffective Gilberto, so de Leeuw will automatically help with that. It does seem de Leeuw is already up to speed on the reality of the team though. Here is a quote from the official press release.
"The conversations that I had with Nelson and Pauno were very good," said de Leeuw. "What they told me about their desired style of play, what they expect from players and the way that they work all appealed to me.
I put emphasis on desired, but at least he included that word. Veljko Paunovic certainly desires to attack and to play to win but this team does neither at the moment and looks incapable of changing that any time soon. De Leeuw at least seems to know the team's desired style of play and actual play are two very different things.
But coming off a game where the Fire put exactly zero shots on goal (again) and only four shots within the general vicinity of the goal, de Leeuw can't be expecting to replicate anything remotely close to his Eredivisie numbers.
See you in July de Leeuw! Hopefully you will still be excited about being on the team by then.