CHICAGO, Ill. – The long-term future of striker David Accam remains in the balance after Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez confirmed that discussions about extending his contract had ceased.
Coming off a productive second MLS season -- one in which Accam was recognized as the Fire’s Player of the Year, thanks to nine goals and five assists in 24 regular-season games -- both parties were involved in talks to extend his stay at Toyota Park.
England Premier League side Stoke City were rumored to be interested in acquiring his services after having him train with them last winter, while French side FC Nantes were alleged to have a $3 million bid turned down in the final minutes of the summer transfer window.
Accam, 26, has a guaranteed contract through 2017 and a club option for 2018, but speaking exclusively to MLSsoccer.com, Rodriguez revealed that talks with the Ghanaian have been postponed until next season begins.
“For the moment, we have ceased those discussions,” Rodriguez said.” We still have David under control for 2017 and 2018 and we’ve decided to wait until the season begins before reviewing that situation.”
With 19 goals and seven assists in 48 games since signing from Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF, Accam has been one of the few positives for a Fire side who have been rooted to the foot of the MLS table for the past two years. Having enjoyed three years in Sweden following four years studying and playing lower-league soccer in England, Accam has made no secret of his desire to return to Europe, should the right opportunity arise.
However, his relative lack of appearances at the international level with Ghana could hinder his prospects of securing a move. In England, for example, players need to have played in 75 percent of their (FIFA top-50-ranked) country’s matches during the previous two years, so Accam’s seven caps for No. 53 Ghana could prove a stumbling block.
However, Rodriguez sees Accam as one of the key pillars to returning the Fire to a position of competitiveness and credibility, and he expects him to remain in Chicago to help build a brighter future for the club.
“David likes it in Chicago,” Rodriguez said. “He has expressed his desire to play and remain in Chicago. Any player always wants improved conditions and I think that’s obvious, but he’s always been a professional and we expect that to remain the case.”
With rumors linking Veljko Paunovic’s team with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, retaining Accam could provide the base for a potentially impressive attack. Accam is the club’s only Designated Player, but at his current salary it is conceivable the Fire could pay down some with allocation money, which could free up another DP slot should the Men in Red need one.