The Chicago Fire could use some help in the goal-scoring department, and they are hoping their latest acquisition will help give them a boost.
The Fire announced on Tuesday that they have signed Dutch forward Michael de Leeuw from FC Groningen. Chicago used Targeted Allocation Money to sign de Leeuw, and agreed to a three-year deal with him that includes a club option for 2019.
Since he's still under contract to Groningen, De Leeuw won't be available for the Fire until the MLS secondary transfer window opens July 4, although he is expected to join the club for training before then.
Per MLS's Discovery Process conflict resolution mechanism, the Fire acquired the right to sign the 29-year-old de Leeuw after trading $50,000 in General Allocation Money to the Philadelphia Union.
“Michael hungers to score goals and to win,” said general manager Nelson Rodriguez in a statement. “That mentality as well as his versatility to play several of the attacking roles will be valuable additions to our club.”
The 29-year-old joins the Fire from FC Groningen, who he has represented for the past four seasons. From 2012-16, de Leeuw appeared in 117 league matches, scoring 46 goals including three hat tricks in Eredivisie play, leading his side in scoring during the 2015-16, 2014-15 and 2012-13 seasons. He also appeared in five UEFA Europa League games for The Pride of the North.
"The conversations that I had with Nelson and Pauno were very good," said de Leeuw. "What they told me about their desired style of play, what they expect from players and the way that they work all appealed to me. To be a team that adapts to other teams was good to hear. I spoke with Johan Kappelhof many times and he had good things to say about the club and the city of Chicago, which all makes me excited to be joining the Fire."
The Fire are in need of goals after having scored a league-low eight through nine matches. Chicago is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference.