Chicago look to Argentine playmaker Grazzini for MF spark

Sebastian Grazzini

Photo Credit: 
Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Chicago Fire have had a big hole in their center midfield all season long. There simply has been no one who could create in the middle of the field, and no one who could effectively link the back and front lines.

They’re hoping all that changed on Wednesday, when the club announced that they had signed 30-year-old Argentine midfielder Sebastian Grazzini.

“He’s a playmaker,” Fire interim head coach and technical director Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “He’s a No. 10 that can create and can score goals. ... He’s definitely a quality player, one that has the ability to make the final pass in the final third, one who wants the ball in difficult situations and can create stuff for himself and for his teammates. He’s got a fantastic left foot and is a good addition to our team.”

Grazzini last played for Argentine first-division club All Boys, scoring five goals in 22 appearances for the suburban Buenos Aires club in the 2010 Apertura and 2011 Clausura seasons. All Boys, however, were far from Grazzini’s first stop. He has bounced around Europe and South America throughout his career, playing for nine teams in the last nine years.

That frequent movement doesn’t concern Klopas, who is fixing in on the new addition’s solid character instead.

“You don’t see too many guys now who stay their whole careers at one team,” Klopas said. “The fact is that I know he’s a good player and the more important thing is that I know he’s a quality human being, a good character, a competitive guy and one who I know wants to win.”

Grazzini was scheduled to arrive in Chicago on Thursday night and will be available for selection against Portland on Saturday. He should join the Fire in good shape — he last played for All Boys on June 11 — but Klopas said he expects it will take some time for his newest signing to adjust to both the Fire and MLS.

Klopas also discussed bringing in other players during the summer transfer window. He didn’t commit one way or the other, but seemed to imply that Grazzini will be Chicago’s only addition of the summer.

“We’re always looking, but obviously it’s never good to make too many changes within a team [during the season],” he said. “Now is not a time when you make crazy changes or too many changes.”

Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at sam.h.stejskal@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.