MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Official: Chicago Fire land Kacper Przybylko in trade with Philadelphia Union


  • CHI receive: Kacper Przybylko
  • PHI receive: $1.15m GAM ($575k in 2022, $575k in 2023)

UPDATE (Jan. 22): Chicago Fire FC have acquired forward Kacper Przybylko from the Philadelphia Union for $1,150,000 in General Allocation Money, the clubs announced Saturday.

Philadelphia will receive $575,000 in GAM in 2022 and an additional $575,000 in GAM in 2023. Przybylko is under contract with Chicago through the 2023 season, but sources tell the two sides are currently discussing a new contract that would not be a Designated Player deal.

“We’re very pleased to add a player of Kacper’s caliber to our roster,” Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz said in a release. “Going into the offseason, we wanted to sign a top attacking player with MLS experience and Kacper has been one of the most effective goal-scorers in this league over the last three seasons. With his physical attributes and knack for scoring goals, we believe that he will be a great addition as we continue to build a talented roster for 2022 and beyond. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to the club.”

Przybylko, 28, joined Philadelphia at the end of the 2018 campaign and bounced back from foot injuries to lead the Union in scoring in each of his three seasons with the club. He has 35g/14a in 83 MLS regular-season appearances, helping guide Philadelphia to the 2020 Supporters' Shield and a 2021 Concacaf Champions League semifinal appearance.

Since his MLS debut at the start of the 2019 season, Przybylko is tied for third-most goals scored behind only Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez (38) and Seattle Sounders FC striker Raúl Ruidíaz (37).

“We want to thank Kacper for his efforts on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union,” Philadelphia sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a release. “He has played a major role in some of the Union’s most memorable moments over the last few years and we wish him all the best as we continue to look to strengthen and add depth to our roster in the coming weeks.”

ORIGINAL (Jan. 20): Chicago Fire FC are nearing the acquisition of forward Kacper Przybylko from the Philadelphia Union, sources tell The deal would be over $1 million in General Allocation Money, but nothing is finalized or official yet.

Przybylko was held out of Union training Thursday as the move nears completion.

“Kacper was not in training today," Jim Curtin told media on a virtual press conference, though he did not directly say anything about Chicago being the destination. "There’s rumors swirling, I’m not going to hide from any of it. A lot of it is factual, but nothing is official. … Things are in motion, that’s the reason he wasn’t in training today.”

Przybylko recently did an interview in Polish in which he revealed Chicago were trying to sign him and were going to extend his contract, adding he hoped the Union would accept an offer. Przybylko has a club option for 2023. Chicago would offer him a guaranteed three-year deal, according to Przybylko.

The 28-year-old former Polish youth international forward joined the Union at the end of the 2018 season, after he spent a few months without a club following a hellacious battle with foot injuries. He's become a rock for the Union, with 35g/14a in 83 MLS regular-season appearances, helping guide them to the 2020 Supporters' Shield and a 2021 Concacaf Champions League semifinal.

Before joining Philly, he bounced around the German system for years, including stops at FC Kaiserslautern, FC Koln and Greuther Furth.

Przybylko would join a new-look Fire group under first-year head coach Ezra Hendrickson. He is likely to be the starting forward, with other options in attack including rising Colombian talent Jhon Duran. The forward, who was named to The Guardian's list of top 60 talents born in 2003, was acquired last year on a U22 Initiative deal from Envigado FC, though it couldn't go official until his 18th birthday in December.

Chicago are expected to be active still this winter and could potentially fill multiple Designated Player spots after Robert Beric and Ignacio Aliseda departed. Paraguay international midfielder Gaston Gimenez, their other DP in 2021, is back.

As for the Union, Philadelphia previously acquired forward Julian Carranza on loan from Inter Miami CF this winter, a former $6 million signing who is a Young Designated Player. The deal includes a purchase option and Philadelphia are bullish on his fit, with his defensive metrics ostensibly a perfect fit for the Union's pressing/transition system. They were possibly looking to acquire another forward before the Przybylko news materialized.

Curtin holds no ill-will towards Przybylko and insists their relationship remains positive.

“My relationship with Kacper is perfect, it’s professional," Curtin said. "We speak every day. None of this is a surprise. Every player has aspirations. … There are things that can happen which would benefit both sides.”