MLS- Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire closing in on Frenchman

First on SBI


The Chicago Fire has been on the hunt for another attacking threat to complement star midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco and the Fire may be close to landing that player.

The player’s name is Fabrice Pancrate, a 27-year-old French winger/forward who Chicago head coach Denis Hamlett and technical director Frank Klopas have traveled to France to see and try to sign, sources have confirmed to SBI.

Currently under contract to Paris St. Germain, Pancrate is playing for French club Sochaux on loan. He has failed to appear in a league match for Sochaux since Nov. 24, 2007, but could see action today when Sochaux travels to Monaco (Pancrate did not dress for today’s match). He started against St. Etienne in his last league appearance, but then failed to dress for another match until Sochaux’s most recent match, a 1-1 tie against Lille on Jan. 19.

A speedy 6-foot-1 winger, Pancrate would be a major upgrade on the right flank for the Fire, and could also provide depth at forward and left wing.

Pancrate is in the final year of his contract with PSG and Chicago is lining up a bid to buy out the remaining portion of his contract with hopes of signing him to a long-term deal.

  • EDB

    I’m a little worried at the fact he barely gets time with his current club, but he can’t really be worse then barret or wanchope now can he?


  • Dominghosa

    A benchwarmer at Sochaux is still better than whoever the Fire have on the outside midfield, including Mapp.


  • Steve

    For anyone that cares, Michael Bradley just scored another goal. 23rd minute again VVV Venlo.


  • adam

    ill be the first to admit that i dont follow the french league, but i do know that it is not considered a top league in europe. even if it is a second tier league and he was loaned out from a team in the bottom half of the top division to a lower division team where he still is not playing chances are HE IS NOT THAT GOOD. big question here is how much they’d be paying him because it seems like you can get a player of similar ability, probably younger too, in north america somewhere.


  • Don C.

    I like what I hear about this guy. I also trust Hamlett and Klopas. Unlike us, they know Pancrate’s abilities and exactly how well he might stack up against MLS defenders.


  • Richard, UK

    Quit ragging on him already. I trust the Fire to bring him in on merit, not just because he’s French.


  • PeteK

    At first glance at the photo, I thought Zach Thornton lost 50 lbs. and was signed by PSG.


  • Joe Ginto

    Heck as an Italian I’m willing to give him a chance even if he is French. We’ll see what happens but he can’t be worse Bedrossian…he just can’t.


  • furia yanqui

    At first glance at the photo, I thought Zach Thornton lost 50 lbs. and was signed by PSG.

    Posted by: PeteK | January 23, 2008 at 03:28 PM

    that, my friend, is a comment worthy of winning the caption contest


  • Joamiq

    Adam: Sochaux is Ligue 1, and Ligue 1 is the 4th best league in Europe, so based on that alone it’s difficult to conclude that he’s not that good. Fire fans will have to wait and see. I will say this: this and DC and NY’s impending South American signings are a continued good sign. They show that MLS teams are digging deep to find players.


  • Chadwick

    you naysayers are nuts…This guy is in fact the real deal.He’s not a Bedrossian nor is a he Wanchope.This is exactly the type of signings the league has needed to go after,still under 30 and experienced in top flight football.Ligue 1 is NOT second tier, it is an elite league on par with the other big boy leagues of England ,Germany, Spain and Italy.


  • Ben K

    “A benchwarmer at Sochaux is still better than whoever the Fire have on the outside midfield, including Mapp.”

    The last person the Fire had who could play right mid was Evan Whitfield. The position has more or less been vacant since (though Rolfe wasn’t terrible out there, but he belongs up top).


  • bc

    I think he’s a good pickup. Pacy down the flank. He saw more playing time in his first stint at PSG. Last year he got loaned out to Real Betis, where he didn’t do too much, either. As noted above, he hasn’t done anything this season.


  • BrianK

    At least he is 27,….and not some 35 year old burn-out. BTW – I never thought the French leauge was a bad one. Below Italy, Germany, Spain and England but a notch above Eastern Europe and Scandinavian leagues.


  • Landis

    It cracks me up that everytime a European is mentioned as a target everyone expects them to light the league up and score 20 goals a season. While he’s not world class (hardly), he’s probably a better than the average player in MLS and will give the Fire someone who can finally play right wing. When is the last time the fire had a true right winger… 2004??? I’ll take him!


  • Adam

    While I remain skeptical that the Fire will pay for a buyout of Pancrate’s contract and then sign him long term without DP money, the idea of this guy is very exciting.


  • Dominghosa

    So he is better than what the Fire have on the outside. Thanks for backing up my statement.


  • Modibo

    PSG wanted a million euros for Pancrate when Besiktas was after him last fall… He didn’t show up to PSG preseason until 10 days or two weeks late, but who knows why? Hopefully just dissatisfied at PSG and waiting for a loan to come through, but hopefully not a sign of general bad attitude.

    Also, just because it’s not on FSN or GolTV doesn’t make Ligue 1 second rate (sorry for the pun). There are a lot of French players in the Prem, La Liga, Serie A and they get there through good development at home. Maybe Lyon is the only club that can realistically compete with Real, Chelsea, etc for brand name footballers but that doesn’t mean the whole league is rubbish, just undercapitalized.


  • Bob

    As a long-time PSG fan, I can assure you that Pancrate is not “the answer,” or at least he never was for PSG. He is a player often said to have had “potential.” So it is hard to say what kind of forward/winger Chicago would be getting.

    As for Ligue 1, I would say it is a step below the EPL. But I also would say that the EPL is a step below La Liga. But Ligue 1 is every bit as good as the Eredivisie, for whatever that is worth. French soccer is fast-paced, has great atmosphere . . . many reasons to watch it.


  • Mark

    The responses I’ve had from some avid followers of Ligue 1 were:

    “He reminded me of Cissé, no football brain. All he’ll do is kick the ball forward and run, he got found out too easily.”

    “Pancrate plays as a sub at Sochaux at the moment, he’s not very good to say the least.”


  • papa bear

    If he can play credibly on the right I am excited as all get out.

    re: Ligue 1: it really is a good league in terms of competitiveness (about equal to Bundesliga at the moment). However, it’s BORING. Tons of 0-0 draws and the style resembles EPL more than it resembles Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga or Eredivisie (kick ball deep>>pray to get under it>>launch shot on goal; very little possession play by and large.
    Basically, if you are in Ligue 1 you are in a very good league.


  • Fuego Fantico

    I agree with Bob and Papa Bear, Ligue 1 is a very good league. The league has a strong pipeline of African talent that boosts the overall quality.

    Allez St. Etienne!


  • Bob

    papa bear, I can see why you might think French soccer is boring, but it’s not the case.

    The high number of draws, it seems to me, is due to a dearth of cold-blooded strikers. The pace is incredibly high, but every time a top-class forward develops he is swept away to one of the bigger leagues. Lyon is able to hold on to many of their top players, but look at all the interest in Karim Benzema . . .

    On the other hand, Paul Le Guen leaves one of the best finishers in the league, Pauleta, on the bench much of the time.


  • Joe

    RE: Tons of 0-0 draws and the style resembles EPL more than it resembles Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga or Eredivisie (kick ball deep>>pray to get under it>>launch shot on goal; very little possession play by and large.

    Papa Bear, I hope you are not being sarcastic here about saying the French league is a very good league. But I disagree that it is similar in style to the EPL…unless you are talking about Arsenal. Everyone in France tries to mimic the Arsenal system…lots of fast triangular passing, pretty good dribbling/on-ball skills, and lots of speed courtesy of Africa…but definitely not a lot of build up through the air as players tend to a bit short there. And scoring is way up this year…it’s a very fun to watch league.


  • DJ

    now I know why Frank hasn’t been returning my emails.

    If Frankie Klopas sees something in this guy then there is something to this guy. That said, I don’t care about the French Orange Ligue 1 or 2 and this guy does seem to have SCRUB written all over him. However, if we sign him for about the money we paid Ivan or less and he does as good or better job then we all shall be happy in Chi-Town.


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