BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Despite finishing the year with a couple of shaky performances, Fire center back Wilman Conde – who will be out of contract at the end of 2010 – is still attracting interest from other clubs, both abroad and within MLS.
“There are four clubs that have expressed some sort of interest,” Conde representative Orlando Gutierrez told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “They’re spread out. There’s some interest from the Middle East, there’s some interest in South America and some interest in MLS.”
The 28-year-old Conde, who appeared in 25 games for the Fire this past season, could choose to stay in Chicago, where he will resume contract negotiations in the coming weeks.
“We made an offer to Wilman at the beginning of the season,” Fire technical director Frank Klopas told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “But when we got late in the year, we felt that we needed every player to be focusing on the team making the playoffs, so we told Wilman that we’ll sit down and evaluate everything once the season is over.”
Gutierrez said that Conde, who joined the Fire in 2007 and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2009, isn’t yet leaning one way or the other.
“We have made it a point to stay neutral until we have all the offers on the table,” Gutierrez said. “We’re going to be talking with the club and really that’s the only thing we’re waiting on at this point. We’ll make an evaluation of what we want after that.”
Gutierrez added that Conde, who was drawing interest from Argentine giants River Plate earlier this year, will base his decision on a number of things.
“The driver, obviously, is the financial security of the player,” Gutierrez said. “But there are other things that always come into play: the novelty of going to play in a place that you’ve never gotten to visit before, going to play for a club that has the reputation of a River Plate, things like that.
"It depends on the offer. Every offer has a few positives and pretty much every offer has at least one downfall, too.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.