The Chicago Fire strongly considered signing Alejandro Bedoya before trading their No. 1 spot in the MLS allocation order to Philadelphia to facilitate the Union’s signing of the US international on Wednesday, according to Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez.
Heading into Wednesday, the Fire held the No. 1 spot in the allocation order, granting them the right of first refusal to sign Bedoya or anyone else on the league’s allocation ranking list.
Rodriguez said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday that Chicago considered adding the USMNT midfielder, with head coach Veljko Paunovic even speaking with Bedoya before the club accepted Philadelphia’s offer of general and targeted allocation money, a first round pick in the 2017 SuperDraft and discovery priority on an unnamed player instead.
The Fire also received Philadelphia’s No. 2 spot in the allocation ranking as part of the trade, which subsequently moved to No. 1 after the Union used the No. 1 spot they acquired from Chicago on Bedoya.
“We considered adding Alejandro’s services very strongly,” said Rodriguez. “Pauno had a conversation with him, it went very well and following that conversation Alejandro, through his representation, suggested that, ‘Hey, you know what, Chicago does have something and I wouldn’t mind going there.’ So all of that is the absolute truth.
“Philadelphia had inquired about moving up in the allocation ranking previously. We had a few conversations with them as we analyzed the situation and then analyzed Philadelphia’s final offer. We decided that the best course of action for us was to accept the offer, de facto stay in the No. 1 spot in the allocation rankings and continue along our plan.”
Bedoya would’ve immediately become the biggest name on the Fire, who are currently in last place in MLS with 18 points through 20 matches. Rodriguez said that the club were “OK” with the “broad parameters” of Bedoya’s contract, which will pay him $1 million per year and included a $1 million transfer fee to his former club FC Nantes, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
Rodriguez also said that two other teams made trade offers to Chicago for the No. 1 spot in the allocation ranking, though he wouldn’t say if those unnamed clubs planned on using the spot on Bedoya or for other purposes.
While they chose not to sign Bedoya, Chicago did acquire a pair of players on Wednesday prior to the close of the league’s secondary transfer window, signing Armenian forward David Arshakyan and trading with Colorado for striker Luis Solignac.
“Philadelphia inquired about swapping spots in the allocation ranking during the All-Star break and that was prior to our even having a discussion with Alejandro,” he said. “From that point on discussions come in and out. A few other teams also inquired about trading spots in the allocation ranking, two other teams made offers for a swap in the allocation ranking. I cannot say that they did so with the intent to sign Alejandro or if they had designs on a different player or if they had different designs altogether. We obviously rejected those offers.
"As is typically the case, the closer you get to the [transfer and trade] deadline offers tend to increase or people tend to dig in and hold their ground. And as I said, in the end Philadelphia made a fair offer, clearly an offer they were comfortable with and we made the decision that we felt was in our best interest.”