So where is Brian McBride?
No, he can’t play in Major League Soccer until July 15th anyway, but why hasn’t a deal for his move to MLS, an presumably the Chicago Fire, not happened yet? The deal has stalled as negotiations between the Fire and Toronto FC, current holders of the allocation spot needed to sign McBride have hit a wall.
Chicago Fire technical director Frank Klopas was quoted by the Chicago Tribune about the Fire’s trade talks with Toronto FC and stated that Toronto was trying to land multiple players in any deal for the McBride allocation slot.
"(Toronto) always wants more than one player," Klopas told the Tribune’s Luis Arroyave. "That’s difficult from our standpoint. We can’t be releasing two or three guys to make this happen. It would hurt the team.
"It’s not just one situation either. They always seem to change the deal around."
That’s not quite how sources in Toronto see the trade talks going.
While Mo Johnston declined to comment on trade talks, a Toronto FC source told SBI that Toronto has asked for Justin Mapp or Wilman Conde in trade talks, with Chicago balking at both requests.
Is asking for Mapp or Conde an outrageous request for the chance to land a player of McBride’s caliber? According to Klopas, Toronto’s demands have been unreasonable. Klopas also suggested that Toronto should consider what McBride wants.
"Mo needs to understand it’s about doing the right thing," Klopas told the Tribune. "Someone who has had a great career wants to finish in his hometown. He has to understand that."
While having McBride play for Chicago is an idea situation for McBride and MLS, Toronto is a conference rival and the league’s rules have put Toronto in position to be compensated for McBride. It isn’t out of line for Toronto to want to make Chicago, a conference rival, pay a high price to acquire a star forward who has shown that he can still play at a high level.
Is asking for Mapp or Conde, or some combination of other players, an unreasonable asking price for the chance to add McBride? Or is it unreasonable for Chicago to think it can land a player like McBride for the low cost of a reserve player or draft picks?
What remains to be seen is if and when MLS will step in to the situation. There is a perception that the league will get involved if things aren’t rectified in timely fashion, but I think it is a bit presumptuous to assume that MLS will step in and side with one team over another. Perhaps in years past, when only a few owners were in MLS, the league could get away with writing the rules as they go along, but with Toronto and Chicago boasting relatively new MLS owners I’m not sure if the league will be in a hurry to snub one owner over the other.
The rules governing McBride’s potential to return to MLS are flawed, of that there is little doubt, but they are the rules so if the Fire want McBride wearing a Fire uniform this season they are going to have to pay a good price, whether they like it or not.
What do you think of this situation? Share your thoughts below.