Manchester United on Tuesday announced that out-of-favour veteran German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will join Major League Soccer (MLS) club Chicago Fire.
The 2014 World Cup winner has been frozen out by head coach Jose Mourinho, who does not see the former Bayern Munich star in his plans. The 32-year-old, bogged down by multiple injuries, is considered as a player who is past his prime and has featured in only four games this season.
“Bastian Schweinsteiger is to join Chicago Fire as a deal has been agreed with Manchester United and the player,” United said in a statement.
“The 32-year-old German midfielder’s move to MLS is subject to a medical and a visa being obtained but Chicago are keen to finalise a swift transfer.”
Schweinsteiger joined United in 2015 after a 13-year trophy-laden spell at Bayern Munich. He won eight Bundesliga titles for the Bavarian giants and a Champions League in the 2012-13 season.
“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,” said Schweinsteiger in a release.
“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.”
For Chicago Fire, Schweinsteiger’s signing will not only lift the profile of the club but also get a lot of experience from a player who played 121 times for Germany.
“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 Fire general manager Nelson was quoted as saying by the Chicago Tribune paper.
“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.”