It’s been a long week. Not just for me, but for any Chicago Fire fan trying to follow the transfer saga of former Atlético Madrid and Dalian Yifang star Nico Gaitán.
On Monday, it seemed like Gaitán-to-CF97 was a done deal. The Argentine midfielder was on his way from China. Finally a big time move that was going to happen. The fans were excited for all the possibilities. Questions about where he would play and how the team would look with him on the pitch were forming.
By Wednesday morning, however, the talk was that Gaitán was actually heading Turkey. That just like so many big time internationals before him, he was using the Fire and MLS as leverage to go to a more internationally prestigious league and team. In this case: Fenerbahçe.
Then Wednesday night, the new Football Manager patch was released, and look who was on the Fire’s default roster?
To all the #cf97 fans, do not worry, I am almost certain we have signed Gaitan. When I booted up the new update in @FootballManager he was on @ChicagoFire roster— Football Shenanigans (@FS_Reports) March 7, 2019
So it seems that, according to Sega, the Fire finally got their man. Congratulations to the front office and all involved for getting the deal done (and Football Manager’s connections for seemingly confirming the deal). But now that they allegedly have him, they have to decide what to do with him.
There’s one thing that should not be done, and that’s bench Djordje Mihailovic. Being in and around the #cf97 hashtag for the last few days, part of the speculation is the belief that Mihailovic is not a number 10. Those people are wrong. Against LA, Djordje was absolutely instrumental in the build up of the Fire’s most successful attacks. He is the future of this club and if the kid is to reach his full potential, he must play. He must start. And he must play as the point of attack.
So what to do with Gaitán? The obvious answer is put him in the midfield, like so:
This has the obvious consequences of pushing Corrales out of the lineup, as well as pushing Schweinsteiger into central defense and moving Kappelhof to right back. The Fire like to play a high line when they have the ball. Kappelhof was allowed to get forward relatively frequently. So don’t worry about Basti not being able to flex his attacking muscles. It also takes some of the pressure of Djordje while still allowing him to develop as a 10.
The other option is a bit more radical, although it’s the one I most want to see.
A 3-5-2, with Djordje playing as a shadow striker underneath Niko and Schweinsteiger still anchoring at center back.
This set-up also features Mo Adams as the midfield destroyer. Adams is the other Fire player I feel very strongly about this year. I still have dreams of him shutting down Ignacio Piatti in Montreal last year. I think he needs to play in order to improve and cement himself as part of the backbone of the club that I think he can be.
This also solves the fulback problem of just not playing any, and while I’m apprehensive about putting defensive responsibilities on Alexander Katai’s shoulders, placing Kappelhof and Adams on the same side as him should relieve some of that pressure.
I’m excited and nervous about the signing, if it even happens. I won’t really believe it until he has a jersey in hand at a press conference. But speculating like this is fun, and it seems as if this deal is fait accompli, so I’m indulging myself.
So, what do you think? Comment below with your thoughts on the deal, and where you think he fits in on the pitch.