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Fire Closes in on Costa Rica's Wanchope
Soccer By Ives, July 24th, 2007 4:15PM

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After being linked for months with possible striking partners for Cuauhtemoc Blanco, the Chicago Fire may have finally found their man in Paulo Wanchope. On his blog, The Chicago Tribune's Luis Arroyave reports that the Fire is close to inking a deal with the Costa Rica striker. Wanchope would be coach Juan Carlos Osorio's first signing since becoming Fire coach last month.
 
Soccer columnist Ives Galarcep adds fuel to the speculation on his blog, saying that Osorio laughed in agreement when Galarcep mentioned a few weeks ago that Wanchope would be available following the conclusion of the J-League season in Japan. "The move makes perfect sense," Galarcep writes. "Wanchope and Osorio had a very close relationship when both were at Manchester City, and Wanchope was looking for a club after ending his short stint in Japan." He adds that the English Premier League veteran "has wanted to play in MLS for years."
 
Galarcep says the lanky Costa Rican, , who was an all-sectional basketball player while attending high school in California, will not likely have the same impact as Blanco, who made a stunning debut against Celtic on Saturday, but he's certainly a proven goal scorer whom you could see on the end of many a Blanco through-pass. Wanchope showed his finishing prowess in the opening game of last summer's World Cup, producing two great finishes against host Germany in a 4-2 loss.

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