Fire exercising Grazzini’s option, but mystery of his status isn’t over
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media June 28, 2012 8:08PM
Chicago Fire's Sebastian Grazzini, left, and Manchester United's Anderson battles for the ball during the second half of a friendly soccer match at Soldier Field Saturday, July 23, 2011, in Chicago. United won 3-1. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:36AM
The Fire attempted to end the Sebastian Grazzini contract saga when it announced after Thursday’s training session that it had decided to exercise its option on the 31-year-old Argentine midfielder.
All that did was raise more questions.
Opening a rare address to reporters, Javier Leon, managing director of Fire holding company Andell Sports Group, announced the news. He said Grazzini had requested the announcement be delayed due to family matters he was addressing.
That contradicts Grazzini’s position of the last several weeks that he was irritated that the decision had been drawn out. Grazzini was not made available to the media Wednesday or Thursday.
Grazzini, whose contract now runs through the end of the season, did not make the trip to Livestrong Sporting Park for Friday’s game against Sporting Kansas City because he hadn’t trained for the majority of the week.
‘‘There was never an issue as to whether or not we’d pick up his option,’’ Leon said. ‘‘As far as us committing to him and making this a goal, there has never been any question in our minds.’’
Head coach Frank Klopas said immediately after the Leon address that Grazzini was informed a month ago that team intended to exercise his option.
But all of Grazzini’s comments about the situation, which he portrayed as unresolved, came after that time.
For the last several weeks Grazzini had publicly stated he wanted to renegotiate his contract. He retracted that statement last week, saying he misunderstood the terms of the contract and did not realize the team option existed, still giving the indication he had not been informed that the option had been exercised.
After he was subbed out of last Saturday’s 2-1 home victory over the Columbus Crew, Grazzini removed his jersey to expose an undershirt that read ‘‘Thanks Chicago,’’ a message that couldn’t indicate anything other than his expectation that he was leaving the Fire.
It all fuels speculation as to whether Grazzini will be transferred this month while the secondary window is open and whether he is happy staying with the Fire.
‘‘That decision was made a long time ago,’’ Klopas said. ‘‘I think I’d be happy to be in Chicago playing for this organization, so I don’t know why he wouldn’t be happy. I think he should be ecstatic with a big smile on his face.’’