Photo by ISI Photos
When Wilman Conde made the move from Colombian club Millonarios to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire last year, he did so in order to continue playing for Juan Carlos Osorio, a coach he respected greatly and felt could him improve as a player. It appears Conde wants to be reunited with Osorio yet again.
Conde told Kathryn Knapp of Chicagoland Soccer News that he wants to be traded to the Red Bulls. In an emailed statement to Chicagoland Soccer News, Conde wrote the following:
"As you may recall, it was through Juan Carlos Osorio that I came to MLS, and the Chicago Fire particularly," Conde said. "That is why I want you to know that I wish to continue to work with him and rejoin him with his new team, the New York Red Bulls.
"The Chicago Fire is a great institution but my interest and desires are no longer with this team. It is a difficult situation but it is my desire to pursue my career with the New York Red Bulls starting this season."
Conde went into more detail with the Chicago Tribune’s Luis Arroyave, who spoke with Conde on Saturday.
Conde’s trade request comes as no surprise to those close to him, who have been aware of his desire to be reunited with Osorio since Osorio left the Chicago Fire to become the Red Bulls head coach in December.
Whether Chicago will let such a reunion take place is another story. Conde was arguably Chicago’s best defender last season and the Red Bulls would have to pay a significant amount to pry Conde away from the Fire. That is assuming the Fire will even listen to offers. The acrimony surrounding Osorio’s departure from Chicago could lead to the Fire to refusing to even consider dealing Conde to the Red Bulls.
Chicago general manager John Guppy issued this statement through a team spokesperson:
"We are aware of Wilman’s interest to play in New York," Guppy said. "However, Wilman is under contract with the Chicago Fire and we do expect him to perform all of his obligations in a professional manner. As always, the interests of the Chicago Fire are paramount in all player decisions."
Conde’s willingness to go public at this time could suggest that he is ready to take a hard stance on his desire to be traded to the Red Bulls. Could he leave Chicago’s training camp and hold out? It is entirely possible.
What could the Red Bulls offer Chicago? Midfielder Dema Kovalenko and Seth Stammler and defenders Kevin Goldthwaite, Jeff Parke and Carlos Mendes could all be part of a trade, as could goalkeeper Zach Thornton. I know Fire fans won’t accept anything less than Juan Pablo Angel or Jozy Altidore, but neither of those two players are going anywhere. I also doubt that Dane Richards goes anywhere.
If the Fire is willing to listen then Osorio is likely to make a strong offer because Conde is the exact type of player he has been searching for this off-season, a left-footed defender who could play left back in a 3-5-2 or left back and center back in a 4-4-2. Conde’s versatility and young age (he’s 25) make him a valuable commodity.
What do you think about Conde’s proclamation? Are you surprised? Do you think he’s out of line? Do you think Chicago should let him go? Do you think the Red Bulls should trade Dane Richards and draft picks? What about a package of Kovalenko,
Magee Parke or Mendes, Thornton and next year’s No. 1?
Share your thoughts below.