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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.

What do you think of the signing for the Fire?

Share your thoughts below.

36 comments
  • chris

    Why would you sign this injury prone has been when you have promising young CB’s?

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  • CakesTakes

    I think it’s a great signing (health permitting). I’m sure he talked with Torsten Frings about the league, so it’s a good sign that more and more internationally established players see MLS as a viable option.

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  • Kelly

    I think this is a great bit of business. Obviously Friedrich is trying to prove to everyone he can still play and the MLS (Fire) were willing to give him the place to do it. If it works and is successful Friedrich may decide to stay here for the long term, if not, what do the Fire lose? It is great decision and this guy will tear it up if healthy.

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  • Felix

    If he stays healthy this is a great signing.

    Personally, I was hoping they’d hold out for Bocanegra – whose Rangers situation is very tenuous.

    But I remember Friedrich from teh World Cup and really like his play and leadership.

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  • Ryan

    Anibaba is a good young CB. Gibbsis good but noy young and has had some injuries. Friedrich can also play RB. The Fire need depth. If Arne is healthy, it could be a coup. I doubt Klopas would sign him if he is not close to playing level. It’s a one year deal, not a reclamation project.

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  • Chuck

    Luckily he won’t play in Nguyen’s team, cause Friedrich is well known to fit in the derogatory term tweeted by Lee.

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  • Kelly

    a two or three year contract beyond this year is long term. You can easily play until 35 or 36, especially a player at his level.

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  • kev

    1 year isnt bad. Im sure he wont get more than a million a year and probably wants to experience life in the USA. Works for me

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  • Matt

    Do you really think that Klopas has any idea what he is doing? That guy is in so far over his head it’s crazy. How many successful signings has he made? How many washed-up overrated foreigners has he signed? The Fire should consider building a team. Instead they are throwing darts at a board and overpaying mediocre players to try and patch one together. Changes need to be made on an organizational level.

    Rant over.

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  • August Spies

    It appears the Fire have not learned from the Wanchope disaster. They have a habit of adding players who shouldn’t be on the field but in a wheel chair. Perhaps they ought to sign Peyton Manning.

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  • MicahK

    Are you crazy Friedrich is a beast. I know he has been dealing with injuries, but come on cut him some slack. You said the same thing about Whitebread too he was injury prone. If they are a good player and have great potential why not take the risk ?

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  • whoop-whoop

    Haha… what can you say? If he stays healthy, it is a GREAT signing… if he bombs out with injury, they look the fool. Since none of us is a physician or has access to his records/information that CHI has…. what can we say with any credibility?

    Regardless, there is plenty CHI young defenders can learn from this guy.

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  • E

    From this report it doesn’t even look like he was a DP, so I really don’t see much risk at all here.

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  • Polo

    If healthy he instantly becomes the best defender in MLS by a long shot. Just two years ago he was one of the best defenders in the world.

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  • epablo

    he has made plenty of good signings! And i am not even a fire fan to notice! Pardo, grazzini, oduro, puppo, barouch. He had to make a new roster. This guy provides leader ship in the back. You guys almost have a complete spine on the first 11. Now the fire only need more depth to be in contention to win the esst.

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  • epablo

    euro snobs exist. but is there a name for MLS fans that throw their hands up in the air about signing someone who is 30 and up? OMG this guy is 32! end of the world! He is not even a DP for goodness sakes. He is an excellent defender. Great bargain deal. Do research USsnobs. Because 32 is just a number. Ask beckham, ange, blanco, mcbride, henry, and the list goes on.

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  • Ryan

    Oduro: 12 goals last year. Pardo, instantly stabilized DM position. Grazzini, a playmaker who unlocked the field and helped the Fire end the season on a 7-2-1 tear.

    The Fire finished 3 points out of the playoffs last year and have strengthened the squad further (Robayo, Puppo, Dube signings). If that’s not building a team I don’t know what is.

    Maybe you should actually refer to a body of work (not half a season) before saying Klopas is “in over his head”. Sure didn’t look like that last year. The Fire will be just fine. And a guy that has had 82 caps for the German National Team? Yeah, he might be ok.

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  • Mitch

    Anibaba is moving to the right, where he will shine. Now the midfield and backline is stacked with depth. The only piece missing is a holdup striker to go with the quick guys. Can Barrouch be that guy?

    It is hard to believe this team still has 3 DP’s to use also.

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  • MMV

    Fantastic signing. Arne is a very good defender whether he lines up at CB or RB. From what I’ve read he’s healthy. He had offers during the winter. obviously he was holding off and working out a deal with MLS. This is a major coup for the Fire. He will instantly be an upgrade and become a leader.

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  • Ryan

    I have high hopes for Barouch. He is young and needs experience, but I think he can develop into the hold up striker you mentioned.

    As for Anibaba, while he can play RB, CB is his natural position. Don’t get me wrong, I will take him at RB if that means Gibbs/Friedrich in the middle. But I prefer Anibaba at CB. Friedrich can also play RB, so the option is there since we really only have Gargan at RB. Pause can play there in a pinch but it’s not ideal.

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  • mwc

    For the record, while there have been persistent rumors about this, Friedrich denied he was gay on German TV last October. His girlfriend of ten years also issued a statement. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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  • marco

    If it works Anibaba will return to RB where his crossing talents are very good.

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  • CentralScrutinizer

    Would’ve been a perfect fit for the Galaxy until Omar returns. Too late to change to LA, Arne?

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  • Victor

    I don’t know much about him, I remember seeing him on FIFA 10 and 11 and his rating wasn’t to bad haha but seriously for a non-DP thing if healthy from reading what you guys said this would be great. Imagine if we went out and signed a DP Or 2 and I really think we’d be up there competing for the Cup.

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  • Lard

    Whitecaps don’t need him….My guess is that they would trade him. He would be a perfect fit for LA, but I dont think they could bring him on.

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  • fischy

    Actually, Klopas has done a fantastic job — especially since really taking over as coach, too. DLC was a disaster, but Klopas has done great work in righting the ship.

    Like

  • fischy

    Yeah — why would the Caps want Bocanegra when they already have….wait for it….Alain Rochat at left back and Martin Bonjour (from Rampla Juniors!!) at left centerback?

    Like

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