After two losing seasons with the Chicago Fire, Spanish midfielder Alvaro Medran finds himself in a familiar spot as he joins his new club.
Medran, 27, joins Saudi Arabian side Al-Taawoun, with the club squarely in a relegation battle, in a next-to-last 15th place.
Despite playing for a losing Fire team, Medran was one of Chicago’s best players over the last two seasons. The former Real Madrid man scored three times in 2021, and tallied six assists. He might have stayed in Chicago had the Fire been willing to make him a designated player, along with a significant boost over the $1 million per season he was making, but the Fire decided against bringing him back.
Despite the positives, there were questions about Medran’s selfishness. He famously argued with striker Robert Beric over who would take a penalty (which he took and missed) in a loss against Orlando City in 2020. After it was announced he was leaving Chicago, sporting director Georg Heitz said the club felt Medran was consistently guilty of holding the ball for too long in midfield.
There’s no question Medran has the quality to help his new club. But, in Saudi Arabia, he’ll be a big fish in an even smaller pond. He’ll need to demonstrate he has patience and trust in his teammates if he’s going to turn Al-Taawoun into a winner.