Chicago Fire Sign Shaun Maloney from Wigan Athletic F.C.


Well, they’ve finally done it. It may have taken a while, but the Maloney transfer saga is finally over.  The Chicago Fire finalized a deal with Championship side Wigan Athletic to send winger Shaun Maloney to the Windy City.  The move of the 32 year-old Scottish international to Chicago tops off what could be called an eventful offseason for the Eastern Conference bottom-dwellers.

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The offseason has been a transient one to say the least.  Veterans like Bakary Soumari, Robert Earnshaw, and Alex were shown the door while Chicago got to work on filling their ever-so-empty DP slots.  It started with the Nigerian Kennedy Igboananike, a veteran of the Swedish Allsvenskan.  Ghanaian international David Accam followed close behind, giving Chicago immense depth at the forward position.  Following the two African forwards, Yallop then turned his attention to adding much-needed depth at other positions.

While the Fire did release Alex, they have agreed to a new contract on Sunday.

This included MLS vets such as Eric Gehrig and Michael Stephens, as well as Brazilian duo Guly Do Prado and Adailton.  The Maloney rumor didn’t materialize until relatively late in the transfer window, but the late development in Chicago’s transfer season may have been the most important.  Maloney is a veteran of the English League Championship as well as the Scottish and English Premierships.   He’s suited up for world-renowned clubs like Celtic and Aston Villa, and now looks to give Chicago’s oft-faltering offense a spark with pace, speed, and a intangibles such as his experience and high soccer IQ.

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Maloney’s signing is a calculated risk. He’s had some hip and back problems as of recent, and has to adapt to a rigorous MLS schedule involving a level of travel and climate difference simply not present in England and Scotland. Maloney also had problems in the past with the media and is known to speak his mind, for better or worse.  But unlike last year and the year before, Chicago is prepared to replace injured stars due to its unprecedented depth at almost every position.

What does this mean?

Well it means that Maloney is a lower risk this year than he was in 2014 or even 2013.

While the season is yet to get underway and skipper Frank Yallop still has a few roster spots to fill, his coaching philosophy as raised Chicago fans’ excitement and interest to its highest point since 2012 when Chicago made the playoffs last.  It’s much too early to tell if Yallop’s philosophy is paying off yet in his second year, but there’s one thing he’s managed to do that his predecessor Frank Klopas couldn’t:  Give Chicago three DP’s. For a team that had no other direction to go but up, it seems the Fire are finally heating up.

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