The Chicago Fire hold the discovery rights to Fernando Torres’ signature and are interested in brokering a deal for the Atletico Madrid striker, sources told Paul Tenorio of MLSSoccer.com.
Torres revealed on Monday he is leaving his boyhood club this summer after 11 seasons of service over two spells, and it’s believed the Windy City could be the next stop in his trophy-laden career.
The 34-year-old could be coerced into choosing Major League Soccer over the Chinese Super League by the Fire’s manager Veljko Paunovic, a former teammate at Atletico. Tenorino dug deep into Paunovic’s Twitter to find evidence of the coach FaceTiming with Torres in 2013, and it’s understood the pair still share a strong friendship.
The Fire have the ammunition to make this move possible. In addition to a combined €1.2 million in Targeted Allocation Money and General Allocation Money, there is a third Designated Player slot available beside Bastian Schweinsteiger and 2017 MLS Golden Boot winner Nemanja Nikolic.
The Spaniard would be the second World Cup winner in the Fire’s ranks after Schweinsteiger, but can also claim two European Championships from 2008 and 2012. He promptly established himself as a fan favourite upon joining Liverpool in 2007 and went on to collect prizes in the FA Cup, Europa League, and Champions League with Chelsea.
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He has a host of individual accolades including being named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2008 and 2009, and finishing third for the Ballon d’Or behind first-placed Cristiano Ronaldo and runner-up Lionel Messi in 2008.
“It’s very difficult to say goodbye for the second time,” Torres said when he confirmed he would leave Atleti, as reported by BBC Sport. “My aim was to hang up my boots here. I want to keep playing for two, three, or five years.”
The MLS 2018 primary transfer window is open until May 1, but Atletico can still detect a scent of a domestic title despite Barcelona’s 11-point cushion atop La Liga. The club is also chasing honours in the Europa League after seeing off Sporting CP in Thursday’s quarter-final fixtures. The Europa League final is set for May 16.
Therefore, it is likely Torres’ potential MLS registration would be cleared on July 10, when the second transfer window opens.
“I believe I can offer something in games, but the reality of the season is not that,” Torres added in Monday’s statement.
“If everything goes well, I can go out with a title.”