Kacper Przybylko was not on the field for Thursday’s union training session, and manager Jim Curtin then confirmed that a deal might be imminent.
Przybylko recently told Kanal Sportowy in his native Poland that he has a show business on the table from the Chicago Fire, and that he’d like to have it. The 29-year-old’s contract with the union guarantees him this year, but in the past he only had an elective year for 2023. He said the Chicago bid would win him Three-year deal. Fire will pay the Federation $1 million in appropriation money, divided over two years.
That would be a huge payoff for a player that Federation sporting director Ernst Tanner signed in September 2018 as a deep cut. Przybelko came here while recovering from a foot injury, and didn’t play until early 2019.
Once on the field, Przybylko became more than a deep piece – he became the team’s top scorer. He scored 40 goals in 96 matches in all competitions: 15 in 2019, eight in 2020 and 17 in 2021, including five in Al Ittihad’s run to the Champions League semi-finals. He provided 16 assists as well, and was a huge threat in pulling opponents’ defenses apart to make space for his teammates.
Unfortunately, he was as susceptible to cold streaks as hot streaks. The drought that lasted nine games last August and September was particularly frustrating.
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Przybylko also told Sportowy that he is interested in teams in Russia and Turkey. But it seems likely that Chicago’s offer will be accepted. New manager Ezra Hendrickson is seeking more offensive strikes for one of MLS’ most underpowered teams, and Fire has put a lot on the table.
“Obviously there are rumors going around right now — I won’t hide from any of them, many of which are factual,” said Curtin. “We will do everything we can for our club at this time, but nothing is official yet. There are no real exact terms or anything or deals to confirm, but it is clear that things are definitely going and that is why Kacper is not training today.”
Kerten did not hide the fact that the union’s desire to sign another striker before the start of the season was accelerated by the possible departure of Przybylko.
“We have a good fund to allocate money right now, as it is today, and maybe more will come,” he said. “We’ll definitely use that to really upgrade the roster. If you’re asking me are things done and is this the final roster, just like any other MLS team, I’d say, ‘Now, definitely not.'”
However, replacing Przybylko will not be limited to just signing another striker. Al Ittihad likes to play with one big striker and one smaller one in their two attacking squad, and Przybylko was No. 1 on the big side. Curtin confirmed that the team will continue to search for a replacement.
“We have, obviously, in Cory [Burke]Good goal, and in Sergio [Santos]You have the slasher who will run behind and extend the defense. Carranza brings a little bit of both – he can catch the ball, but his really move is to be late and stretch things out. … this other [to be signed] He’d probably be a target type of guy.”
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Kirten has only been able to see new striker Julian Carranza for a few days now, but he loves what he’s seen.
“You can definitely see his talent, the way he moves in and around the goal – he has a natural instinct to score goals,” said Kirten. “He really attacks the ball when there is a serve in the penalty area. … “We are a team that puts a lot of balls in the penalty area, so any striker in our system, if we do our work, will get to the end of things and get to the end of the passes. “
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Curtin also said he saw Carranza carry a chip on his shoulder after being loaned by Inter Miami, who had to pay millions of dollars in salaries after violating MLS roster rules. Carranza’s signing was $6 million prior to the start of Miami’s first debut season in 2020, but fell off the depth chart when Inter signed former Argentine superstar Gonzalo Higuain.
“There will still be an adjustment period of course due to the defensive work” required of the strikers in the league’s high pressure system, Curtin said. “I think he’s learning that now. But he’s been very eager to learn, working hard off the ball, and will get caught up in the speed in our environment and the different principles we want from our attackers.”
And Curtin revealed that academy left-back Matt Real, whose contract expired after last season, is back with the team after accepting a new offer during an off-season period. He will compete with Junior Academy producer Anton Sorenson, who is highly regarded by scouts, to be Kai Wagner’s backup. And if Al Ittihad ended up selling Wagner to a team in Europe, because he wasn’t shy about the desire, Real and Sorenson would fight to be the new starter.
“The end of the year wasn’t exactly what Matt wanted, but I’m always a guy who can have a good year-end meeting with you [and] “Forgive, forget different things,” Curten said of Real. “I think we’re on the same page, he came in, and he looks really good in training… he’s still at a very young age.  And he has a lot of experience under his belt already.”
Sergio Santos and Jacob Gleesens are not on the field yet due to visa issues. Curtin said Santos could take a little longer, but Glesnis could be in the field on Friday. Curten also hinted that Gleesnes is getting a green card, which will provide a place on the international roster.
Elizabeth Robertson, Enquirer team photographer, contributed to this report.