TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Roster Update
On the day they unveiled a new logo and brand identity, Chicago Fire FC continued their metamorphosis under new controlling owner Joe Mansueto, announcing that they had declined contract options on a host of players, including Argentine playmaker Nicolas Gaitan and Serbian winger Aleksandar Katai.
The Fire also declined options on Diego Campos, Stefan Cleveland, Elliott Collier, Cristian Martinez, Amando Moreno, David Ousted and Richard Sanchez. Meanwhile, the club exercised their 2020 contract options on forward CJ Sapong and defender/midfielder Raheem Edwards.
Gaitan, a former Argentina international who has appeared for Atletico Madrid and Benfica in Europe, joined Chicago from Chinese club Dalian Yifang using Targeted Allocation Money in March. The 31-year-old started 25 games in MLS, scoring twice and adding 12 assists.
Katai was another regular for the Fire since joining from Spanish side Alaves ahead of the 2018 season. The Serbia international notched up 12 league goals in his first season but only half that amount in 2019. He also registered 12 assists in his 62 MLS appearances (51 starts) for the club.
Ousted started the season as the club's starting goalkeeper after arriving from D.C. United but subsequently lost his place to Kenneth Kronholm.
Ousted, Cleveland and Sanchez are eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, while Campos, Collier, Gaitan, Katai, Martinez and Moreno are eligible for the Waiver Draft.
The Fire had already announced that German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger had retired and that forward Nemanja Nikolic was out of contract and would not return.
Fourteen players were already guaranteed to return next season: Micheal Azira, Jonathan Bornstein, Brandt Bronico, Francisco Calvo, Przemysław Frankowski, Jeremiah Gutjahr, Fabian Herbers, Johan Kappelhof, Kenneth Kronholm, Marcelo, Álvaro Medrán, Djordje Mihailović, Andre Reynolds II and Gabriel Slonina.