BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – The Chicago Fire are interested in bringing back Marco Pappa, and the desire to reunite is reportedly mutual after the 26-year-old midfielder announced via Twitter he's coming back to MLS.
But after the Fire gave up Pappa's rights to rake in a transfer fee two seasons ago, neither party may have a say as to where the Guatemalan international ends up. Philadelphia and Seattle hold the top two spots in the allocation rankings, and the Fire sit in the eighth spot.
“As soon as the player was available to come back, we were obviously very interested,” coach and director of soccer operations Frank Yallop said at a Friday press conference. “We've been trying to talk to the clubs involved ahead of us to try to get something done.
"Having said that, you've got to give something up, and what they want is maybe someone we don't want to give up. It's not easy. We'd love to have him back here for sure, but it's the way the league's set up. And everyone gets a fair crack at him. We are trying as we speak to try and get him back, but it's not been easy.”
Pappa scored 26 goals and dished out 16 assists in five years with Chicago before making a move to Dutch side Heerenveen late in the 2012 season. The Fire originally decided to allow him to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season to retain his rights, but Heerenveen came back with an offer they couldn't refuse. Heerenveen reportedly terminated Pappa's contract after just one season.
Seattle acquired the second spot in the allocation rankings from Chivas USA in a trade for Mauro Rosales and are reportedly interested in Pappa. Philadelphia are pursuing Maurice Edu and will likely use their allocation spot on the US national team midfielder. If the deal for Edu falls through, the Fire may have a window to bring Pappa back.
“We've had some fruitful discussions with Seattle and Philly, but as Frank mentioned before, to get something of quality, usually you've got to give up something of quality,” technical director Brian Bliss said. “I don't think we're at the point in either one of those discussions where we're on an agreement on any of those formulas that might make it work.
"However, if something doesn't work with the signing of that player with one of those other clubs, we're more than prepared to make an offer. It's just a point of waiting our turn and maybe coming to an agreement with one of the teams before us in the allocation order.”