Just days after selling Tim Ream to Bolton, the New York Red Bulls have secured the services of his replacement, signing Colombian centerback Wilman Conde after making a trade with the Chicago Fire.
The Red Bulls dealt allocation money (which one source put at $150,000) to the Fire for the chance to sign Conde, who returns to MLS after spending 2011 in Mexico with Atlas. The left-footed centerback was an MLS Best XI defender with the Chicago Fire in 2009, and left the Fire after a disappointing 2010 season.
Conde returns to MLS after injuries, and foot surgery, turned his foray in Mexico into a short-term disaster. The Red Bulls are banking heavily on Conde being the dominant centerback he was during his best years in Chicago, with the combined cost of acquiring Conde's rights, and his salary, believed to be worth close to $500,000.
Conde has a bit of a history with the Red Bulls, having been a key trade target for New York when Juan Carlos Osorio was the Red Bulls head coach. Osorio, who joined New York in 2008 after leaving the Chicago Fire, tried desperately to bring Conde to New York, and Conde even publicly expressed his desire to join the Red Bulls back then, but the Fire rejected every offer. Ironically, Conde now joins the Red Bulls after turning down a chance to reunite with Osorio at Mexican club Puebla.
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