The Chicago Fire have reached an agreement with the Colorado Rapids to trade for left back Andrew Gutman, sources tell MIR97 Media. The Fire Academy product will return home in exchange for Miguel Ángel Navarro and a total of $450,000 in General Allocation Money.
With the MLS trade window opening today, December 11th, the move is among the first of what is expected to be a very busy offseason ahead of 2024. The trade will see the Fire part ways with $225,000 in 2024 GAM, as well as $225,000 in 2025 GAM, whilst maintaining 50% of the rights of Navarro should he be sold elsewhere in the future. Upon joining the Fire, Gutman will sign a new contract through 2026.
A native of Hinsdale, Illinois, Gutman spent four years with the Fire’s academy during his teenage years, where he won a national DA title alongside Mauricio Pineda and Djordje Mihailovic. Four successful years and a MAC Hermann trophy with Indiana would then translate into a pro career, but he declined to sign with Nelson Rodríguez’s Fire in 2019, instead opting to join Celtic and later FC Cincinnati. He has since gone on to play for Atlanta United, the New York Red Bulls, and the Rapids. When the Fire traded Gutman’s rights to Cincinnati back in 2019, they received an eventual $200,000 in GAM.
Gutman represents an upgrade at left back, a position that the Fire have struggled to find a quality starter in for several seasons. Navarro had been serviceable, but he was not an effective attacking contributor in the way Gutman is and was far more mistake-prone. Now 27, Gutman brings several years of MLS experience to the young Fire locker room, and represents yet another opportunity for a Chicago native to put on the red jersey once more.
What is for certain is that Gutman won’t be the last signing the Fire make this offseason, as they are expected to be active in both the domestic and international markets. The club is set to make official the signing of Tom Barlow, which was completed a few weeks ago, and continue to work on more deals in the coming weeks. Clever business in 2023, including the deal to bring in Ousmane Doumbia on loan from Lugano, ensures that the team has plenty of allocation money to work with heading into the new season, and with free agency and the trade window both now open, Sporting Director Georg Heitz and Technical Director Sebastian Pelzer will have an opportunity to build a roster stronger than ones in previous seasons to compete to make the playoffs.
The aforementioned MLS trade window opened today following the postseason roster freeze. League free agency opens later this week, too, so further transactions could be made in the coming days and weeks. Pre-season will likely commence in mid-January.