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Even as Manchester United announced their summer tour of the United States spanning cities like Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Santa Clara and Washington DC, one German member of their squad would already be across the pond plying his trade in the Major League Soccer. Bastian Schweinsteiger who has not found favour with manager Jose Mourinho and played only limited games has signed for Chicago Fire.
Fire have been after Schweinsteiger for a considerable period of time but that move stalled as the World Cup winner finally earned some playing time at Old Trafford – albeit in the Cup games. But with that lasting for a short period of time, ‘Schweini’ can join Chicago Fire as early as next week depending on his visa application and physical fitness test.
“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,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez said. “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.”
The 32-year-old midfielder is reported to have signed a one-year deal that will earn him $4.5 million, as per a source, a report in the Chicago Tribune claims. There is a clause to add one more year to the contract.
Later Manchester United made the move official with Schweinsteiger saying, “I am sad to leave so many friends at Manchester United. But I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to take up the challenge at Chicago Fire. I have enjoyed working with the manager, the players and staff here and wish them all the best in the future. But I have to reserve special thanks to the United fans – whose support has been a very special part of my time in Manchester. I was delighted to be part of the squad that won the FA Cup for them last season and will always remember their energy and their passion. Now is the right time for me to start a new chapter in Chicago and I am looking forward to it.”
“Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great,” Schweinsteiger would say in a statement via Chicago Fire. “My move to Chicago Fire is no different. Through my conversations with Nelson and Veljko Pauno (coach), I’m convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project.”
Fire finished the last two seasons at the bottom of the league and with the season already underway, a short term deal is reported to have finalised the job.
Schweinsteiger has made only four appearances this season for the Red Devils and scored one goal in the win over Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup. However, he’s not played a single minute in the league and was even reduced to the reserves.