3.09.2007

Blanco Update

SoccerAmerica.com says negotiations are going very well between the Chicago Fire and Cuauhtemoc Blanco - so well that the two sides are discussing length of contract and salary terms. According to a source close to the negotiations, Blanco wants between $1.5 million and $2 million per year and also wants more than a one-year deal.
At 34, a long-term contract may be a risk, but Blanco's appeal would likely help ticket sales and would add a personality to MLS that precious few could match, good or bad. Since he is still with Club America, Blanco would most likely not join the Fire until after the secondary transfer window opens on June 15th, but it sounds like MLS is pushing to get this deal done.

From Soccer America: "MLS and its marketing arm, SUM, are determined to have Blanco play in the United States this summer - either in the Super Liga competition with Club America, or in MLS with the Fire."

My take: Love him or hate him, Blanco is a polarizing figure that can evoke emotions from even casual soccer fans - both because of his skills and his alleged "dirty" tactics on the pitch. Even at 34, he's got the skills to compete and excel in MLS, if his work ethic is good. At $2 million/year, he would provide instant name recognition among Hispanics in the Chicago area.

I'm not sure Chicago, with or without Blanco, is going to be contending for much this year. They DO have a beautiful new soccer-specific stadium - Toyota Park - and there is a strong core fanbase that AEG should focus on growing by putting a quality soccer team on the pitch consistently.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Blanco aside, it seems foolish to say that the Fire won't compete this year. They didn't lose any marquee players in the off-season, and with their younger core getting more experience and being called in to USMNT camp, it seems like they're a team on the rise.

TJ said...

Nate Jaqua is now playing for L.A.

Zach Thornton is now playing for Colorado.

Andy Herron is now playing for Columbus.

That was their lone all-star last year, their starting keeper, and their leading scorer - three key players that were shipped out this off-season and what did Chicago get back in return?

They are a young squad and I don't think Chris Rolfe can carry the scoring load enough to see Chicago be successful, at least this year.

nick - big soccer said...

I'm not really thrilled with MLS going after Blanco. MLS has tried that route before Campos, Hernadez and so on.

I would rather MLS had spent its money on acquiring or keeping up and coming Mexican players in MLS.