Nery Castillo Joins Chicago Fire as Designated Player

Ieuan BeynonCorrespondent IIIJuly 18, 2010

It was announced on Saturday evening that Mexican international forward Nery Castillo has signed with MLS side, Chicago Fire.

The forward has joined a team that has yet to post a win outside of the MLS this season and who are in desperate need of a creative talisman to spring this side into life.

For the last few seasons that creative spark has been Castillo's Mexican international Cuauhtemoc Blanco, but he has recently signed for Second Division side Irapuato is his homeland.

The casual soccer fan may think that the signing of Nery Castillo is a major coup for both MLS and Chicago Fire.

Sadly this is not the case.

Over the last two seasons nobody's stock has dropped like that of the Mexican striker.

After superb performances for Olympiakos in the Champions League and for the National Team at the Gold Cup and Copa America in 2007, he was one of the hottest properties on the European football scene.

But he followed the money, joined Ukranian superpower Shaktar Donetsk, never settled in the industrial city of Donetsk, and soon had a falling-out with strike partner Christian Lucarelli and coach Mircea Lucescu.

A loan move to Manchester City did not work out any better. His stay was hampered and effectively cut short due to a broken shoulder.

After returning to Eastern Europe he was loaned out again, this time staying in Ukraine with FC Dnipro.  Again, the move never worked out.

So at the age of 26, it seemed that the one-time hot property was running out of potential new homes.

He has either decided that taking a step back to North America is the only way to progress as a player. or maybe he just had no realistic options in Europe, and was forced to take a gig on the other side of the Atlantic.

Whatever the reason, this could mean one of two things for both the player and the franchise.

If he can get his eye on the game and really knuckle down, then there is no doubt he will be one of the top three players in MLS.

If he displays the regular bursts of petulance and childishness that we have become accustomed to, then this may be yet another short spell and possibly the end of the road for Nery Castillo.

With the Fire needing some ingenuity in the final third, the signing of Nery Castillo could prove to be the major coup it's supposed to be.