On Tuesday, Alvaro Medran was hiding in plain sight at Soldier Field. The Fire hope he will be quite noticeable there next spring.
The Fire have completed the signing of the 25-year-old Spanish midfielder. Medran had spent the previous five seasons in La Liga, the top division of Spanish soccer, making 91 appearances and scoring 11 times. Medran was developed in the Real Madrid youth system and signed with them for the 2014-15 season, making six appearances that campaign. He was part of their team that won the 2014 Club World Cup.
He eventually played for Getafe, Valencia, Deportivo Alavés and spent last season with Rayo Vallecano. Medran also played three times for Spain’s U-19 team, and once for their U-21 group.
A free agent, Medran was signed using Targeted Allocation Money and his deal runs through 2021, followed by two club options. The financial terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Medran fits the profile of a player the Fire haven’t had much of recently: experienced, but young and still with room to grow and improve. He’s arrival comes soon after the retirement of Bastian Schweinsteiger, opening what could be an exceedingly busy offseason.
“I’ve known Álvaro since his time with Real Madrid and I’ve always enjoyed his style of play,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said in a news release. “Every team in the league is looking for a player like Álvaro. He’s a player that has experience but is still young and in his prime. He was developed at one of the best teams in the world and wants to come here and give his best. He also fits our style very well. He’s capable of scoring goals, assisting, keeping the ball and has a high tactical understanding. We can’t wait to start working with him.”
Some observers won’t be surprised by the signing.
Eagle-eyed soccer fans spotted Medran in photos taken at Tuesday’s Soldier Field announcement, fueling speculation his signing was imminent. It was, and the Fire have added a player they hope can fuel their midfield.
“Álvaro is a player who was developed in Real Madrid’s youth system, graduating to play for the first team with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modrić,” Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a news release. “He had offers from other clubs and we’re proud that he chose the Fire. Alvaro was at the Soldier Field announcement and immediately fell in love with the stadium and our fans.”