Fire sign German defender Friedrich (UPDATED)

Fire sign German defender Friedrich (UPDATED)

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Fire sign German defender Friedrich (UPDATED)

Friedrich (Getty Images)

The Chicago Fire have taken what appears to be a major step in improving their back line.

According to reports out of Germany, the Fire have agreed to a one-year deal with Arne Friedrich, a German national team centerback. Friedrich confirmed the signing on his own website.

(UPDATE: The Fire officially announced the acquisition of Friedrich, who will not be a Designated Player.)

If at the top of his game, the 32-year-old Friedrich should instantly become one of the league's premiere defenders, but his signing does not come without some risk. He was let out of his contract with Wolfsburg in September after repeatedly dealing with injuries, including one that required back surgery, which limited his playing time with the club.

Friedrich scored a goal in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals against Argentina and has been in the Germany national team set-up since 2002. He has played his entire club career in Germany, most notably with Hertha Berlin from 2002-2010 before he signed with Wolfsburg. He'll join a centerback corps in Chicago that inludes the likes of Cory Gibbs, Jalil Anibaba, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Austin Berry.

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