Manchester United outcast and former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will join Chicago Fire in MLS.
Schweinsteiger has reportedly signed a one-year designated player contract, having found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Old Trafford.
Signed by Louis van Gaal in 2015, Schweinsteiger was ostracised from the senior side by United manager Jose Mourinho, who arrived in the off-season, but the 32-year-old World Cup winner managed to force his way back into calculations, scoring one goal in four appearances.
However, it was always a matter of time before veteran Schweinsteiger swapped the Premier League for MLS as the former Bayern Munich star now prepares to link up with Veljko Paunovic’s men following an initial meeting in November.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great,” Schweinsteiger said in a statement, via the Chicago Tribune.
“My move to Chicago Fire is no different. Through my conversations with [general manager] Nelson [Rodriguez] and Pauno, I’m convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project.”
Paunovic, whose Fire have collected four points from their opening three games and are without a play-off appearance since 2012 after winning the MLS Cup in 1998, said: “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.
“We know it’s going to take some time and adjustment for him coming to the new league, new coaching staff and everything. We also know we can rely on his capacity to adapt and do that fast.”
“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,” Rodriguez added.
“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.”