What will Wilman do now?
That is the big question this week after the revelation on Saturday that Chicago Fire defender Wilman Conde wants the Chicago Fire to trade him to the New York Red Bulls. Chicago has already spoken, with president John Guppy making the very clear proclamation that the Fire won’t be making any deal for Conde that isn’t for what Chicago considers fair value.
What are you prepared to do? That question which Sean Connery stated so forcefully in The Untouchables is aimed right at Conde, who had to know that simply going to the media with his desire to leave the Fire for the Red Bulls wasn’t going to make Chicago trade him.
Is Conde really ready to hold out, or worse yet, stick around and give less than his full effort?
Conde has been a real professional since arriving from Colombia so it is tough to imagine him becoming a problem in the locker room, but it is clear that he gave playing for Chicago a shot and hasn’t changed his mind about wanting to leave. He has been training camp with new Fire head coach Denis Hamlett and hasn’t felt compelled to stay.
Working against Conde is the fact that he couldn’t have asked for a tougher trade to be made. Aside from the obvious concerns about trading an All-Star caliber defender to an conference rival, you already have animosity between the clubs following Juan Carlos Osorio’s departure from Chicago to the Red Bulls.
I can’t help but wonder if that animosity will make a deal that much tougher to pull off. It is no secret that Chicago owner Andrew Hauptman is still upset about Osorio’s departure (upset enough to continue pressing the league into investigation tampering charges against the Red Bulls even AFTER Chicago and the Red Bulls agreed to compensation for Osorio.) It isn’t far-fetched to think that Hauptman has already delivered an "over my dead body" ultimatum about Conde going to New York.
So why does Conde feel so disenchanted about being in Chicago? It isn’t just about his desire to play for Osorio, but also about the fact that he turned down a much more lucrative transfer move to Argentina in order to reunite with Osorio in Chicago. It is safe to say that Conde would have never worn a Fire jersey if not for Osorio.
That doesn’t matter to Chicago now. The Fire paid a $300,000 transfer fee for Conde and the 10 regular season and playoff games he played last season isn’t close to providing a complete return on that investment.
Just what could the Red Bulls offer Chicago to make a trade worthwhile? A package including Dema Kovalenko, a first round pick and cash in the $200K to $300K range is probably as high as the Red Bulls would be willing to go, though Osorio’s desire for a player exactly like Conde could lead him to include an established defender like Carlos Mendes or Jeff Parke.
Would that package be fair value for Conde? You can argue that it is, but what can’t be argued is that Chicago would be silly to ignore such an offer, particularly if Conde stands firm on his request and winds up holding out. The Fire will stand pat, hoping that Conde can be reasoned with and sold on staying in Chicago, but if Conde hasn’t been convinced by now you wonder if he ever will be.
What do you think of the Conde situation? I want to hear from readers who ARE NOT Chicago Fire or Red Bulls fans (yes, Fire and Red Bulls fans can add their two cents assuming they have anything left to say after the weekend’s thread on this story). Do you think Chicago should grant Conde’s wish? Do you think Chicago should ignore it? Share your thoughts below.