Michael de Leeuw was officially introduced by the Chicago Fire Tuesday, joining general manager Nelson Rodriguez and coach Veljko Paunovic for a short press conference.
We already knew some things about the Fire's newest Dutch addition before Tuesday's press conference. We know he scored 46 goals in 117 matches for FC Groningen during Eredivisie play. We know he played with Fire center back Johan Kappelhof while at Groningen. And we know he has some Europa League experience.
But like any good press conference, we learned a little more about him Tuesday! Let's review:
1. He is not our savior
Look Nelson, I'm no expert in rolling out new, exciting additions, whether that be a player for a team or a product for a company. But man you really killed the buzz a bit there. Rodriguez was sure to point out that de Leeuw is a piece of the championship program the front office is trying to build, but no savior. That's the truth, which is cool I guess. But then you realize the championship puzzle they are trying to build is probably one of those 1,000-piece puzzles that is mostly white clouds and it is going to take forever to figure out how to put it together. It was just a bit of a sad reminder.
2. Michael de Leeuw is a 9.5!
He is not a nine, he is not a 10 but he is a self-proclaimed 9.5! I don't really know what that is but I love it. Obviously, de Leeuw was saying he has no problem bouncing between the nine and 10 position. The point is, he loves the box, as he said, and he wants to be in or around it. The Fire really haven't settled on a 10 and with Gilberto away maybe de Leeuw can just play both at the same time.
3. He is on a five-week prep plan, which is sort of confusing
MLS is a physical league and it is going to take time to adapt. De Leeuw can't even play until July 9 anyway. So Rodriguez and Paunovic said de Leeuw would be on a five-week prep plan, just as they do in Europe. The problem is July 9 is less than five weeks away, but the team also went out of its way to correct de Leeuw when he said he'd be available July 10. Will the Fire trot out de Leeuw for the Toronto FC match on July 9? I would say yes, but then it's technically a four-week plan.
4. He's healthy and he wants to be here
And since the Fire is the worst team in the MLS, that's a pretty nice thing for him to say. His deal is two and a half years with an option for a third season. He talked about how he wanted to move on from Groningen after four years for a new challenge and to stay hungry. He could leave at the end of his deal, he could leave before the deal expires like so many of the team's other international signings or he could stay even longer. At 29, he is sort of at that anything is possible age. But for now, it's nice he wants to be here. Hopefully he shows that on the field.
That's all we learned. We'll discuss again July 9. Thanks a lot stupid transfer window rules.