With the ongoing exodus of Chicago Fire players— both confirmed and still in the works— there have been legitimate concerns about whether the Men In Red would be able to field a full backline next year. Or, indeed, name a full Gameday 18. Today, at least, the club managed to plug one outstanding hole.
The Fire announced earlier today that they had signed Marcelo dos Santos Ferreira (commonly referred to as just Marcelo) from Portuguese club Sporting CP. The 29-year-old Brazilian central defender’s transfer will become official after he completes a physical exam and the club receives his ITC.
Marcelo began his career with the youth team at Vasco da Gama in Rio de Janeiro. He moved to Portugal in 2010 and landed at Rio Ave in 2011, where he spent the next seven seasons. During his time there, Marcelo made 152 appearances and scored 6 goals. He signed with Sporting this past May on a free transfer but only played one game, a Portuguese League Cup tie in October. The Fire could provide an opportunity for Marcelo to get a fresh start.
Fire president Nelson Rodriguez praised the new signing in the official press release. “Marcelo will add necessary leadership along our back line. He is a smart defender who participates in every phase of the game. He is known as a solid teammate and he is driven to win, which fits our locker room well.”
The signing definitely fills a position of need, and depending on how well he adapts to the squad and the league he could finally serve as the much-needed (and one season too late) replacement for João Meira.
The team still have a lot of work to do before March if they want to avoid turning the 2019 season into another clown show, much less be competitive. But this looks like a step in the right direction.