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Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Report: Castillo signing with Aris

By Charlie Corr

Greek club Aris has signed Mexican forward Nery Castillo on a six-month loan, according to an Associated Press report.

This move would end Castillo's brief tenure with the Chicago Fire, where he did not contribute a goal in eight games and 487 minutes during the 2010 MLS season.

The Fire have not made an official comment regarding Castillo, and a call to Fire technical director Frank Klopas was not immediately returned.

According to an ESPNChicago.com source with knowledge of the situation, if the loan process is completed, it would free up more than $300,000 for the Fire to invest in another player or two, and it would free up a foreign spot on the roster. Castillo's 2010 base salary was $1.4 million.

Castillo's move to Aris would leave the Fire without both of their designated players from last year. Freddie Ljungberg, who made $1.3 million last season splitting his time with Seattle Sounders FC and the Fire, signed with Celtic in December.

The Fire will see how things pan out for Castillo with a first division team in Greece. If Castillo has positive results over the six-month loan and his fitness improves dramatically, the source said that the Fire do have an option to bring back Castillo later in the year.

According to the AP, Aris said Wednesday it reached the loan deal with Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, where the 26-year-old is still contracted.

Castillo played seven seasons at Greek club Olympiakos before moving to Shaktar, where he has spent much of his time on loan at other clubs, including Manchester City in 2008.

Aris announced the deal Wednesday, a day after respected Argentine coach Hector Cuper resigned following a string of poor league results. Aris is eighth in the league with 23 points from 18 matches, and hosts City in the Europa League on Feb. 15.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.