Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has joined the Chicago Fire, the Germany midfielder has confirmed.
The World Cup winner will move to the Major League Soccer club on a one-year contract, the Chicago Tribune newspaper said. It’s claimed the former Bayern Munich star has agreed a deal worth £70,000 a week.
It quoted 32-year-old Schweinsteiger as saying: “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.”
Former United manager Louis van Gaal signed the German for around £7.5m from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2015.
But he’s had limited chances to impress under Jose Mourinho, initially being frozen out of first-team duty before returning to the fold just in late November in an EFL Cup match against West Ham.
Schweinsteiger has made four appearances in all this term.
But after confirming the player has been allowed to move to the USA, Schweinsteiger told United’s official website: “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.”
The Chicago Fire are certain he will be of value to them.
Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez told the Chicago Tribute: “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.
“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.”
According to the report, Schweinsteiger could join up with his new club as early as next week, on a base annual salary of 4.5 million US dollars (£3.6million) and with an initial one-year contract.
Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said: “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.
“He can produce actions that few players in the world can do. He sees (things) that nobody sees. He opens the eyes of the fans, where you can hear the people say, ‘Wow!’.”
Schweinsteiger won 121 caps for Germany, scoring 24 goals, before retiring from international football last summer.