The Chicago Fire are set to break their transfer fee record, for the sale of an individual player, for the second time in six months. Young striker and Colombian international Jhon Duran, according to sources close to The Sports Bank, has reached an agreement to join Premier League club Aston Villa.
The transfer fee is understood to be about $18 million, although that fee could rise another $4 million in add-ons, if certain performance-based add-ons are met. Duran scored eight goals in just 1,442 minutes of action for the Fire this past season.
Seven of the goals came from July onward, which is when the 19-year-old put himself on the world football map, and on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Back on July 13, Duran scored twice, in the first 16 minutes of a victory that lifted a very much struggling Major League Soccer team of the Eastern Conference basement.
In that 2-0 win over Toronto FC, at Soldier Field on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Duran showcased skills that drew the attention of Liverpool FC, Manchester United, Benfica and more.
Yet it was Villa who won the race to sign him, subject of course to: personal terms, a medical and some international paperwork and protocols.
It was back in early October that Duran started to get linked in transfer rumors to the Merseyside club. Then a couple weeks after Anfield made their inquires into the teenage Colombian scoring sensation, their arch-rivals, Manchester United followed suit.
This narrative gained so much traction that when Fire designated player Xherdan Shaqiri met the media in early November to preview the World Cup, he was asked fa question about this transfer rumor. Shaqiri was asked if he has any advice for his now former teammate.
So the Fire will have actually sold two players to Premier League clubs, for $28 million guaranteed, and potentially $37 million in total, within the span of only half of a year.
It will be very interesting to see what the Men in Red do with all that cash infusion, to try and rebuild this roster into a club that can finally make the MLS Cup playoffs again.
Their last appearance was 2017. Duran, who also registered three assists in 27 appearances this past season, will generate additional revenue for the Fire if Villa end up selling him down the line.
The same goes for Colombian side Envigado, who the Fire acquired Jhon Duran from in January of 2021. Our sources were unable to provide a percentage figure of what either club’s cut would be of that hypothetical future sale.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.