The Chicago Fire have acquired Serbian international Aleksandar Katai on loan from Deportivo Alaves, the MLS side announced Tuesday.
The loan includes an option to acquire Katai permanently and extend his MLS contract.
“Aleksandar should make our attack more diversified,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a statement. “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.”
Katai spent the past season and a half at the Deportivo Alaves, making the move from Serbain side Crvena Zvezda for €2 million prior to the 2016-17 season. He made 20 La Liga appearances last season with eight starts, and contributed three goals and three assists.
However, he made just three substitute appearances in La Liga this season, not registering a goal or assist over his limited time.
“I am excited to join my new teammates and for the opportunity to work with Veljko Paunovic and the rest of the coaching staff,” Katai said in a press release. “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.”
Previously, Katai has played for Serbian side Vojvodina and Greek sides Olympiakos, OFI and Platanias. He also has received six caps for the Serbian national team, including four during UEFA World Cup qualification.
The Fire have had a busy offseason after successfully qualifying for the MLS postseason during the 2017 season — their first trip in four years.
NEWS | We've acquired Serbian international Aleksandar Katai on loan from Deportivo Alavés. Welcome, Aleksandar!
https://t.co/XeysVNVye7 #cf97 pic.twitter.com/NliRzIyGhE — Chicago Fire (@ChicagoFire) February 6, 2018
Chicago declined to bring back midfielder Juninho, one of its high-profile acquisitions last offseason, and traded Ghana midfielder David Accam to Philadelphia.
However, the Fire re-signed former Germany international Bastian Schweinsteiger to a new deal as he looks to build on a successful first season in the Windy City.