Chicago Fire lead Juan Quintero chase as talks go on; Orlando out - sources
Major League Soccer remains in negotiations with Porto over midfielder Juan Quintero, with the Chicago Fire still first in line to land the Colombian playmaker, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.
ESPN television analyst Taylor Twellman tweeted over the weekend that the Fire had jumped to the front of the line among MLS teams interested in Quintero.
A league source confirmed to ESPN FC that Chicago is in possession of Quintero's discovery rights, giving the Fire right of first refusal.
FourFourTwo reported that the transfer fee could be as high as $7.5 million, and that Quintero's salary of at least $3.5m.
Another league source added that Orlando City, which at one stage was thought to be in the lead to sign Quintero, has dropped out of the running and moved on to other targets.
In an interview with Colombian outlet El Alargue, Quintero indicated that his preference is to move to MLS.
"There are various possibilities and I like the United States more," Quintero said. "The idea is an option to purchase so I can stay there as a [Designated Player] player, and I have a lot of hope for that."
If Quintero was signed as a Designated Player, Chicago would need to buy down the salary budget impact of midfielder David Accam because the Fire already have three DPs, the maximum allowed under MLS roster rules.
According to data supplied by the MLS Players Union, the Fire's other DPs -- forward Nemanja Nikolic and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger -- have guaranteed compensation of at least $1.906 million while Accam's is only $820,937.50.
That said, the Colombian insisted that no deal has been reached yet because MLS has not reached an agreement with Porto.
"The business with Porto needs to be completed as they own my rights and they have their economic concerns," he said.
Quintero rejected offers from Club America and Sampdoria because he is holding out for the U.S.
While Quintero has been on Porto's books since the start of the 2013-14 season, he has spent the last two seasons on loan. In 2015-16, he spent the season at French side Rennes, where he managed just one goal in 14 league and cup appearances. The past campaign saw him loaned out to Independiente Medellin, where he scored 10 goals in 22 league and cup appearances. He has also spent time with Italian side Pescara as well as Atletico Nacional and Envigado.
"My agent is in the U.S, negotiating," he said. "When this is reached I am going to say goodbye to DIM [Independiente Medellin] with much love and sadness."
At international level, Quintero has made 13 appearances for Colombia, with his one goal was the game-winner against Ivory Coast at the 2014 World Cup.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.