Former Bayern Munich and German international Bastian Schweinsteiger has signed for Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire, putting an end to his torrid time at Manchester United. Schweinsteiger, who was expected to leave Manchester United, after being frozen out by Jose Mourinho, has signed a one year deal with the MLS team, on a designated player contract that guarantees him $4.5 million in 2017.
The World Cup winner made 31 appearances in his first season for Manchester United, but made only four appearances this season and said that Manchester United would be his final European team, hinting that a move to the MLS was on the cards.
He was seen meeting with Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic in Manchester in November and while they could not agree on a move during the MLS off season, they were able to secure a deal for him finally. Reports say that the midfielder could join up with his new team by the middle of next week, depending on his P1 visa application and a medical.
"We're adding someone who has won at every level, including the very highest levels, and has done so in a way that is consistent with our values," Chicago Tribune quoted Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez as saying.
"We as a club will now be forced to hold ourselves to a higher standard, an accountability level. Previously, I think we could satisfy ourselves with what is known domestically. Now we need to rise to a standard that is set more internationally."
While Chicago Fire and Manchester United have not yet officially confirmed the move, the fact that the Fire general manager Rodriguez, coach Paunovic and Schweinsteiger himself released a statement confirming his move, it does look like a done deal. This move will make the former Germany international one of the 10 highest-paid players in MLS, and includes an option for another year.
"In the locker room, he will be a huge example of a champion. He still is somebody that can show that on the field and (demonstrate) how our guys have to work, prepare, behave, think and work together in order to get to that level," Paunovic said.
"Throughout my career, I've always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great. My move to Chicago Fire is no different. Through my conversations with Nelson and Pauno, I'm convinced by the club's vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project," Schweinsteiger said.