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French club makes bid for Soumare

Bakary Soumare ( 

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With the summer transfer window fast approaching, several MLS players are expected to be the subject of transfer offers in the coming weeks. Ricardo Clark, Sacha Kljestan, Marvell Wynne and Jonathan Bornstein are just some of the players who are expected to draw interest from Europe, but it is a player not on the U.S. national team who could be the first to make a move away from MLS.

An unidentified French First Division club has approached MLS with a transfer offer for Chicago Fire defender Bakary Soumare, sources with knowledge of the offer told SBI on Tuesday. Soumare, who has become a regular starter for the Mali national team, has drawn interest from European clubs because of his size and skill combination as well as the French passport he holds.

It remains unclear whether MLS and the Fire will accept the bid (the size of which is still unknown), but interest in Soumare has increased considerably in recent months, making a summer departure a very real possibility.

Soumare's stock rose after an MLS Best-XI season in 2008, which saw him team with Wilman Conde to form the best central defense tandem in MLS. He parlayed that success into a call-up to the Malian national team, where he established himself as a starter almost immediately despite the presence of several European-based defenders in the Mali national team pool.

What do you think of Soumare making a move to France? Hoping the Fire holds on to him? Think it's time for him to make the move overseas?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think it would be a great opportunity for him, though he is deffently a guy they would want to hold on to if we want this league to grow stronger.

    As far as some other guys, I would like to Donovan go to an English club like maybe Fulham, or Sunderland.

    I would like to Onyewu go to Birmingham City, or maybe he will even go to Fulham.

    These two guys are major parts of our team and if they go where they can face the best compatition it will help us out at the World Cup.

  2. i have no problem with the mls being a feeder league for stronger leagues.. in fact that shows that the league is working.

  3. Bon voyage, Baky,

    We hardly knew ya. Nice kid. Big, for sure.

    But slow, clumsy, a terrible ball handler, and gets burned more times than he makes great plays. Many times needs to take a card to save face on the play. The MLS teams have already got his number. Run at him, run around him, run past him, just stay away from Conde.

  4. It was only a matter of time before a club from Europe came knocking for Soumare. It stinks for all of us Fire fans but this kid is pure class and I wish him all the best.

  5. As a Fire fan, this doesn’t make me happy. But Soumare deserves to play in Europe and the Fire should let him go as long as the offer is reasonable.

  6. If any club offers for Wynn, you should cash that cheque. Great athlete, which is enough for MLS, but he hasn’t developed much of an understanding for the game. He’s frequently out of position and relying on his atributes to make up for it.

    He’ll get lit up in Europe for sure.


    Did I watch a different tournament than everyone else?! They were 2 of the worst 3 guys on the pitch for the US (the other has the same initials as Dave Matthews Band), and they get rewarded with a European contract? Meanwhile, guys like Clark and Donovan will continue to rot away in MLS…

  8. To answer some questions….

    1) The league has two option years on Donovan, so you know they will make sure those kick in.

    2) On a player sold to a different league, the club gets 2/3’s, while the league gets 1/3.

    Carry on.

  9. For all the Conde lovers who claim that he should be going overseas rather than Soumare. Don’t forget that Soumare is 4 years younger than Conde, 27 vs 23. Soumare seems to have proven himself on the international scene and holds a French passport. Most importantly, he has always shown his commitment unlike Conde who spent half of last season complaining about leaving! I got to meet him in Chicago before and I thought the kid was first class, would be very happy to see him go to a league he is destined!

  10. Every club in the World is essentially a feeder club for the 5 to 10 clubs that can buy any player in the World they want. I don’t get to worried about MLS selling players as long as they are reinvesting those funds into the league. The new rules have made it more beneficial for individual clubs to sell players.

    MLS should set a price up front and see who will meet their valuation. I have always thought Soumare was a great player. The first time I saw him he reminded me of Patrick Vieira.

    Ives when you write these pieces you have to tell us how much longer he has on his contract for us to have any chance of assisting the MLS in setting a valuation.

    If he has 2 or more years left on his contract I would valuate him at $7 million currently. Maybe I would take $5 million but not a dollar less.

  11. I’m sure this has been answered many times here, but what’s the split between the club and mls on any overseas transfers?

    This would be a major blow to the Fire, but if the price is right, it’s the right move for both the team and player. I’d definitely miss watching him play on a regular basis.

    Also agree w/Acme, I’d try to sign Conde before Soumare.

  12. it should be up to the player… if he wants to stay then mls/chicago should keep him unless they get a ridiculous offer, but on the other hand it makes no sense to keep a player who wants to go.

    if he really likes playing in chicago i dont know if it makes too much sense for him to move to france to fight for pt on a team that will probably be relegated at season’s end. too bad the salary cap is so low, chicago should offer a significant raise to keep him happy.

  13. Wynne needs a move to Europe. He’s only been ok this season with Toronto and had that nightmare outing in Costa Rica. It takes a hell of a lot more than just pace and strength at the highest level.

  14. I have a feeling that if Wynne is offered a European transfer deal, TFC will definitely push MLS to do it.

    A lot of Toronto fans feel that Wynne was our best player at the end of last season but he has regressed somewhat this campaign.

  15. I wonder where the bid has come from? I could see a club like Lens (just promoted but are a big name in France), Toulouse, Lille, or a Saint-√Čtienne coming for him. I don’t think Soumare is quite ready for a Lyon, Bordeaux, or Marseilles but give it a year or so in Ligue 1 and he could be. It will be sad to see him leave MLS and Chicago but it does bode well for all parties involved. Soumare has a lot of love for this country so I bet at some point he’ll return.

  16. I actually read about it last week in a French newspaper while travelling through Paris. He has done very well with his national
    team immediately earning a starting spot against some stiff competition, it says a lot about his potential. In that article, it also appeared that Everton had shown some interest as well! Good luck to him, too bad for MLS, but until the sport develops there, the league will remain a feeding league!

  17. Brad, what exactly do you want MLS to do? Go looking for someone to take Donovan? Someone has to come to MLS and make an offer. A lot of teams haven’t bothered because of how high the asking price will probably be, but if someone makes a reasonable offer, I’m sure the league will consider it.

  18. Bummer Steve thanks for the clarification. If its a good offer say 4 million plus then I think they should let him go. Soumare is a decent guy from everything I’ve heard and would do well in France.

  19. Baky has played in WC Qualifiers for Mali so there is no prospect for him to play for the US.

    He is a good guy who desrves the move. I just hope that the Fire get what they deserve for him. he has been off form for the club this year so if they can get some money to help replace the Blanco and McBride pairing in teh next year or so it is well worth it.

  20. If this happens it needs to be for a good amount of money. He would be my first pick for a center back in the MLS (since Chad Marshall knee’d another player in the balls like a women do in self defense). I always enjoy watching Bakary play when the Fire come to town.

  21. I think it is better for MLS to sign young players and then allow them to leave when a decent offer arrives. I hate to see the talent go, but I think on balance it hurts the league if players are hesitant to sign with MLS because it holds out for too much money on transfers. And if players do well in Europe, then MLS will get more money on future transfers.

    So, what happened to Toja anyway?

  22. Has Soumare been capped in a full international or just a friendly I can’t remember. I guess my question is can he still switch his country to the U.S if he becomes eligible or did he have to be eligible for both teams when he was first capped?

  23. That sucks for us Fire fans. He deserves all the attention he is getting, and I hope he does well for himself.

    But for the club, it will be a big hit. He has a great combo of size, strength, intelligence and his ability to play the ball out of the back for his forwards his very underrated.

  24. Ives, it would be great if we could get your ideas on what is going to happen to the players who did well in the Confed. Cup (Gouch, Donova, Demerit, spector, Clark) and those who did not help themselves (beasley – does anyone want him besides MLS – sacha – will be a benchwarmer for sure if he goes to certain countries) etc. How has their stock risen or fallen and where should they go as a result.

  25. Jay Demerit’s play during the Confederations Cup has calmed my nerves about the USMNT’s depth at center back, but it still kind of hurts to see a quality defender who may soon hold an American passport (or does he already?) get away.

    As a DC fan, I have to hope that he leaves. But the MLS fan in me kind of hopes that he stays.


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