Nicolas Gaitan - Argentina - close up
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Chicago Fire complete transfer for Argentinean playmaker Nicolas Gaitan

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The Chicago Fire gave their attack another substantial shot in the arm on Thursday, announcing the arrival of Argentinean playmaker Nicolas Gaitan on a free transfer from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifeng.

Signed with Discretionary Targeted Allocation Money (DTAM) and Targeted Allocation Money (TAM), Gaitan will be added to the Fire’s roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC). As part of the acquisition, the Fire paid $50,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) to the Seattle Sounders for Gaitan’s discovery rights.

He is under contract for the 2019 season with a club option for 2020, and is the latest reinforcement for a frontline that added Przemyslaw Frankowski and CJ Sapong earlier this year. 

“Nicolas is a player that can destabilize any defense in this league,” said Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic in a club release. “He has an enormous amount of talent and is still in his prime. We’re eager to get the most out of his attacking creativity.”

Gaitan, 31, has scored 42 career goals in 274 league appearances in the top divisions of Argentina, Portugal, Spain and China. A product of Boca Juniors’ academy, he debuted with the Buenos Aires giants and was transferred to Portuguese powerhouse Benfica in 2010, earning Liga Nos’ Breakthrough Player of the Year award as his new team won the Portuguese League Cup.

Over six seasons at Benfica, Gaitan played 152 league games, made 68 UEFA Champions League appearances and won three Primeira Liga titles, five Portuguese League Cups and one Taça de Portugal trophy. From there he moved on to La Liga club Atletico Madrid, where he played 38 games across league and Champions League action before joining Dalian a little over a year ago in a move that reportedly involved a transfer fee of around $20 million.

Gaitan made his senior debut for the Argentina national team in 2009 and has earned 19 caps to date.

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