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With The Offseason Underway, Designated Players Are A Key Priority

Basti’s retirement leaves the Fire with an open DP slot. There may be more to come.

SOCCER: OCT 06 MLS - Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Small bit of news came across the wire yesterday if you haven’t heard: Bastian Schweinsteiger has called it a career. The man has won nearly everything there is to win in the world of football. He’s a legend and someone who I will always have a soft spot in my heart for coming to this club. It was a pleasure to watch him play over the last three seasons.

But let’s not beat around the bush too long— this immediately changes the dynamic of the club and adds another puzzle piece that ownership needs to find for 2020, and a big one at that. Whether in the middle of the park or in central defense, Schweinsteiger covered a lot of deficiencies in the roster and for this club. Now the Fire know they will be searching for a new franchise players this winter— someone who can fill both the empty Designated Player slot and Basti’s massive shoes.

I have a feeling that this might not be the only one though. There have been not-so-quiet whispers that Nemanja Nikolic wishes to go back to across the pond and closer to home, and Aleksandar Katai is currently not under contract for the 2020 season. More than likely the Chicago Fire will be opening up Soldier Field with more than one DP change.

They are in a curious spot now. Joe Mansueto has done almost everything right from a PR perspective in his initial days as owner; between the season ticket holder announcement yesterday and the multiple interviews where he has stressed how big he feels this club can be, he’s ticked every box that a new owner should. He, in my mind, has taken the right steps to the re-energize this fan base.

But the rubber is about to meet the road here over the next two months. We will find out how quickly if Joe Mansueto can influence DP-leveltalent with both his words and his wallet. This is, without a doubt, the biggest question going into the off-season. Schweinsteiger is now out of the equation for 2020, and it might be Nikolic and Katai next, giving Mansueto a clean slate to work with. Early indication is that Mansueto is a man on a mission.

Let’s hope part of that mission includes 3 new DP targets for the offseason.