The Chicago Fire traded Kennedy Igboananike Friday to D.C. United for Targeted Allocation Money and a third-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
The trade marks the second time this season the Fire have parted ways with their highest paid player as Gilberto left earlier in the summer. Michael de Leeuw essentially took the place of Gilberto and it remains to be seen if the Fire will replace their Nigerian Designated Player with a significant addition before the Aug. 5 transfer window closes.
Igboananike had an up and down career with the Fire, scoring 11 goals and notching four assists in 49 MLS appearances for Chicago over two seasons. While the numbers are not DP-level statistics, Igboananike was more widely accepted than some of his fellow DP colleagues such as Shaun Maloney and Gilberto who flamed out badly.
He also chipped in two goals and one assist in six U.S. Open Cup matches.
The Nigerian winger always left his heart on the field, even on days when he left his scoring boots in the locker room. Though he did not live up to the price tag, he at least did not give up on himself or the team, which is more than could be said for some former Chicago DPs.
And of course we will always have this.
Igboananike now joins former Fire members Patrick Nyarko and Chris Rolfe (who is sadly dealing with scary concussion issues) in D.C. I’d assume he will find ample opportunities in D.C. where frequent trades have led to new looks and a yet to be settled starting XI.
Perhaps the change of scenery will allow him to hit his full potential.
What this means for the Fire is unclear. General Manager Nelson Rodriguez had this to say in the club’s official press release.
“Moves like this are needed in order to execute our plan for roster development.”
I’m not really sure what that means. Development as in guys like Joey Calistri get more minutes and therefore more chances to develop? Or development as in we’ll actually go out and spend that money on a game-changing striker before Aug. 5?
I do think the Fire will make a move to add a striker before Aug. 5, but I am not sure they have the time or money to make a splash that would be nice to see. That may have to wait until the offseason.
At the end of the day, the Fire have moved a player in exchange for more funny money. Fans can do nothing but hope the team actually spends that money and spends it wisely. Neither of those things are close to a sure-fire certainty.