On Tuesday, the Chicago Fire picked up midfielder and Serbian international Aleksandar Katai on loan from La Liga side Alaves through June 30th with an option to purchase outright and extend the MLS contract. Katai will join the club pending receipt of his ITC and P1 visa.
Katai, 27, played 23 matches for Alaves in 2016-17 and scored three goals and four assists. The previous season at Red Star Belgrade, he was the leading scorer in the Serbian SuperLiga with 21 goals. He amassed 31 goals and 15 assists in 68 appearances for the Serbian side. Katai’s time at Red Star Belgrade came after an ill-fated spell with Olimpiacos where he was consistently loaned out and never made an appearance with the senior team.
Katai also has earned seven caps for the Serbian national team including four caps during the most recent FIFA World Cup Qualifying campaign.
“Aleksandar should make our attack more diversified,” stated Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez. “He has the ability to turn a game on a single play whether it be off the dribble, with a pass or cross or even on set pieces. His desire to triumph should also fit well in our locker room.”
“I am excited to join my new teammates and for the opportunity to work with Veljko Paunovic and the rest of the coaching staff,” said Katai. “We will do everything to win a championship for the city and our supporters, and I can’t wait to score in front of our fans.”
THOUGHTS: This may be a Plan B after the Fire failed to land Juan Quintero. There should be some motivation for Katai to start anew after seeing his playing time diminish at Alaves. He desire will be much welcomed alongside the likes of Schweinsteiger and McCarty—two players who also have that desire to triumph.