BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire president and GM Nelson Rodriguez didn’t come out and say that his club are looking to sign Fernando Torres on Wednesday, but he didn’t exactly shoot down the notion, either.
Rodriguez commented on the 34-year-old Spanish striker at a media roundtable at Toyota Park on Wednesday. Paul Tenorio, now of The Athletic, reported for MLSsoccer.com in April that the Fire own the MLS discovery rights for Torres and that the club are interested in signing the veteran striker.
Reports from Spain and Japan have also linked Torres to Japanese outfit Sagan Tosu, as well as a Chinese club.
Torres recently ended his second stint with boyhood club Atletico Madrid and is currently a free agent. Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic played with Torres at Atletico from 2003-2005.
“I think it’s flattering for our club to be related to big and great players like Fernando Torres,” Rodriguez said. “I think it speaks well of us, I think it speaks to our ability to attract some players. It’s not my nature to talk about ongoing or previous negotiations and I won’t do so now, but Torres has a lot of the qualities that we admire. He’s a man of values, he’s a family man, he’s a winner and a champion and he’s still a heck of a player and we will always have interest in people and players like that.”
After finishing third in the Supporters’ Shield standings in 2017, the Fire have gotten off to a poor start this season, recording just 11 points through their first 11 matches. While they’re not where they want to be in the table, the Fire do have significant room to make additions this summer. The club have an open Designated Player spot and plenty of allocation money on hand, including the $900,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $300,000 in General Allocation Money acquired from Philadelphia in January in exchange for David Accam.
Rodriguez stated repeatedly Wednesday that the Fire want to sign an attacking piece in the summer, but he made a point to say that the new addition won’t necessarily be a forward. Striker Nemanja Nikolic currently occupies one of Chicago’s DP spots – the Hungarian won the MLS Golden Boot in 2017 operating primarily as a lone striker.
Torres scored 10 goals for Atletico Madrid in 40 appearances and 13 starts in La Liga, Europa League and Copa del Rey action this season. He had 38 goals in over 100 career caps with Spain, helping the nation win the 2010 World Cup and 2008 and 2012 European Championships.