The Chicago Fire quickly moved to put the disappointment of missing out on Didier Drogba behind them by announcing the signing of Brazilian striker Gilberto and revealing more additions could be on the horizon.
With the announcement Monday that the Ivory Coast striker was on his way to the Montreal Impact on a sign-and-trade deal with the Fire, head coach Frank Yallop said the move allows the club to strengthen multiple areas. The Fire received general and targeted allocation money for Drogba, allowing them to claim the former Toronto FC man off waivers as the team’s third Designated Player by buying down Kennedy Igboananike’s DP contract with funds acquired in the deal.
“I just move on,” Yallop told reporters on his weekly conference call. “Yeah, it was disappointing, I’d love to have ‘Double D’ playing for us, but it wasn’t to be and we move on. We picked up a great player in Gilberto, so in the process we’ve come out of it well. I don’t like to talk about what might be; it’s about what’s going to happen.
“We just move on and get ready for what’s coming in.”
With deficiencies in the attack addressed with the addition of Gilberto, Yallop confirmed that he will now look to strengthen his defense with a playoff spot still very much the focus for him and his last-place team.
“We’re working on some stuff as we speak; obviously the window is coming to a close in 10 days or so,” Yallop admitted. “We’re working on some stuff. I’ve said it all along, we’ve been pretty poor in both boxes, scoring and keeping them out, so I’m trying to get some help at the back. Some help in that department would be good, we’re trying to do that, it’s just getting the all-clear and getting the players to sign and, for me, making sure that it’s the right thing for the club moving forward.”
The signing of Gilberto may have come as a surprise to many of the club’s followers, but Yallop insisted he is just the type of “quality player” that can help the team this season and long into the future. Gilberto scored seven goals in 28 league games for Toronto last season.
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“We’ve just been trying to recognize what we wanted to do in the window, and I think he’s a quality player,” Yallop said of the 26-year-old Brazilian, who spent the first half of the 2015 MLS season on loan with Brazilian club Vasco da Gama after finding himself surplus to requirements in Toronto. “He had a good end to his season with Toronto. I’ve always liked the way he played, and it’s a great opportunity for us to acquire him. It’s been a pretty easy and quick decision, and he’s young too, so it’s a good one.”
Gilberto is expected to be available for the Fire's trip to face the Portland Timbers on Aug. 7.
Yallop also confirmed that former Birmingham City and US youth international Will Packwood would not be signing following a recent training stint with the club.