South American Soccer

Report: Fernandez ends Qatar loan, wants another move abroad

AlvaroFernandes1 (Getty)


With an injury-riddled half-season at Qatari club Al-Rayyan that saw him feature just 10  times the domestic league and AFC Champions League combined, Alvaro Fernandez is ready for the next challenge.

Fernandez, currently a member of the Chicago Fire, is looking for another team to play for outside the United States, with perhaps a move back to Major League Soccer for next season, according to reports out of South America. His contract with MLS expires in December 2014.

Reports in Uruguay have the two big clubs, Nacional and Peñarol, both jostling for position to sign Fernandez, while playing in Liga MX is a possibility as well.

The 27-year-old, nicknamed El Flaco, dislocated his elbow, according to reports, in the 2-1 victory over Al-Sadd in the Emir Cup final, forcing him out of the Uruguay squad for the Confederations Cup.

Since moving to MLS in 2010, Fernandez has been one of the better players in the league, earning his status as a designated player while he was on the Seattle Sounders from 2010 to 2012, helping win two U.S. Open Cup’s with the club. Mid-way through the 2012 season, Fernandez was traded to the Chicago Fire for allocation money, but in 14 games at Toyota Park, he was unable to produce the same results, and was sent on loan last January to Qatar.

Prior to playing in the U.S., Fernandez played in Chile, Brazil, Mexico (with Puebla), and across four teams in Uruguay.

What do you make of this news? Where do you see Fernandez ending up? Should the Fire bring him back for the second half of the season?

Share your thoughts below.

    • bubbles

      By loaning out DPs, MLS teams can generate allocation $$$. That’s what LA did with Beckham, that’s likely what Seattle is doing with Montero this season. Not saying I agree with that approach, but with the salary cap and the nature of allocation money, I can see why teams might take it.

      A Sounders blog had a great article on this very thing about a year ago. Here is the link:



      • Old School

        Sorry, at work, so I don’t have a ton of time to read it (I’ll check it out when I get home).

        I just can’t justify “allocation” money for a loan deal over recouping actual transfer funds to apply towards a player.

        Perhaps because it’s such a backwards mentality that I’m just not allowing facts to replace my opinion but I generally just hate the mentality/approach by MLS.


      • bgb

        Allocation is the money that can go to an actual player. And it’s not straightforward to net allocation in a transfer. Kind of winging it here, but I believe it’s 2/3 of the first million, after the league recoups investment in the player. So a maximum of 650K on a transfer can go towards player salary (which is nearly a 25% increase in cap). Learned most of this from tracking Montero’s transfer saga, the consensus seemed to be that we would need to sell for 3-4 million in order to net max allocation.

        In this case, I’m pretty sure Seattle paid a transfer fee that would need to be recouped, a couple years of salary, and Seattle retained some right to a portion of any potential transfer fee. Would’ve been pretty hard for Chicago to net much on this one.


      • Old School

        Sorry, one more thing to add: MLS is constantly negotiating from a standpoint of weakness, rather than strength.

        If there’s a player that is generating interest: capitalize on that.

        I feel like MLS is constantly being lowballed in negotiations, including loan deals and it’s incredibly annoying.


      • bubbles

        Right. Not saying I agree with any of how the MLS does it’s financial dealings. But it does seem that allocation money is not only important, but also quite the mystery.

        When Seattle traded Fernandez to Chicago, they took his full DP salary off their cap hit, allowing them to add both Christian Tiffert and Mario Martinez. So for both teams, it may well be addition by subtraction (Seattle having gotten a two-fer at the time, and then Chicago trading for a guy they knew they loan out for allocation $$$).

        Re: the transfer funds, that appears to be complicated too. The team that sells a player doesn’t get 100% of the transfer fee. It’s shared with the MLS in some fashion. I am not sure any of that is ever fully disclosed, so we are left to guess, but it appears there is a threshold at which a team can sell a player and not actually receive much back in the way of transfer fees.

        Maybe the MLS will someday shed a light on all of that, but I doubt it.


      • Old School

        “Maybe the MLS will someday shed a light on all of that, but I doubt it.”

        I can agree with that. The lack of clarity is hard for people that want to “get into” MLS.

        Me included.


      • Yevgeniy

        I am pretty sure you can get into a league without knowing exact financial dealings. You would not know much about financial details of Russian Premier League, but many people are fans of course


      • bgb

        Extremely difficult to net allocation on a loan. Probably didn’t happen w/ Beckham (unless the loan fee(s) was giant, or there was an LAG loophole), isn’t happening w/ Montero this year. The link you provided explains why, but basically it comes down to the fact that the teams don’t see anything until the league has recouped its investment. Loans just don’t drum up that kind of fee.


  • DC Josh

    It boggles my mind how he doesn’t fit into the Fire’s system. He has talent, fit him in somewhere.


  • Steevens

    Flaco needs to just go away. Permanently.

    He’s not committed to MLS, and is the type of incessantly diving DP this league doesn’t need.


      • Steevens

        That’s a huge leap in logic from what I said. We don’t need DPs who are not committed to the league, and we don’t need to waste money on DPs who hurt the reputation of the league by flailing about all the time.


      • Diego

        Son, players are committed to their careers, not to leagues or clubs…


  • MB

    Boy the Fire could really have used him this season. If the loan was the front office’s decision, poor decision on their part.


    • Old School

      Wouldn’t be the first and it won’t the last.

      Since I’ve been here in Chicago, I’ve lost count on how many moves this front office has made that literally alienates it’s fanbase.


    • bgb

      Don’t think it was. If I remember right the move abroad was because he was worried about losing his Nat team spot. The coach he was playing for in Qatar had a good relationship w/ the Nat team coach.


  • Victor

    We got to get rid of him….I feel we have decent wing depth now, I liked him when he was here but we need a DP spot open again….we should have one already since we should have never dropped the money on Macdonald but oh well.


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