Midfielder Alvaro Medran is once again performing like the Fire’s best player. After a slow start, Medran has five assists over the last three games and his high level of ability and tactical awareness is showing through like it did during a standout 2020 season.
But how long will that be on display in Chicago?
A recent report from Diario AS in Spain said teams in that country are looking at Medran. A product of Real Madrid’s youth system, the 27-year-old Medran had made 91 appearances in Spain before the Fire — then led by Veljko Paunovic and Nelson Rodriguez — signed him in October 2019 using Targeted Allocation Money.
When he was asked about the report and whether he’d be interested in a move back to Spain or wanted to stay longer with the Fire, Medran told the Sun-Times through a translator it’s nice to hear there’s interest from teams in Spain because it means he’s playing well and his work is paying off. Medran, whose contract has club options in 2022 and 2023, said it also means he has to keep working and improving.
“I think the club knows what I want to do since last year,” Medran said. “Back then it wasn’t necessarily possible, but they know what I’m looking for. I’m going to keep giving this effort and keep playing at this level and we’ll see in December what happens. I’m just going to keep putting in my work, putting in on my part and keep working hard and then we’ll see what happens.”
And what is Medran looking for? Well, he was coy.
“I can’t tell you right now, but the club knows that’s something that’s mine,” Medran said. “But I’m going to keep working hard to keep being on the (MLS) team of the week and to keep getting the victories.”
Regardless of what happens with Medran and his future once the season is over, the Fire (3-7-2, 11 points) are getting a player whose production matches his pedigree.
Since coach Raphael Wicky changed formations to use three centerbacks and two wingbacks with three midfielders and two strikers up top, the Fire are 2-0-1 and have scored nine times entering Saturday’s game at Nashville SC (4-1-7, 19 points). Medran has been especially potent as a more advanced midfielder, getting further forward and dissecting opposing defenses with his pinpoint passing, sharp vision and on-ball skills.
Medran, whose role had generally been deeper in the formation during most of his time in Chicago, said the change has helped the Fire’s efficiency and allowed them to “reinforce” Wicky’s ideas. For him personally, Medran said he feels more free because he has players behind him, allowing him to focus more on moving up the field and joining the attack.
“It feels good to be able to look forward and focus a little bit more on attacking,” Medran said. “I can play up a little bit more. I’ve also been working on the defensive end so I can come back and defend, but it does feel good to be able to go forward and not have to be always thinking about coming back and to be focused on it defensively as well.”