Scotland, Wigan mid joins Chicago Fire as third Designated Player

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The poorly-kept secret is out in the open: Former Celtic, Aston Villa and Wigan attacker Shaun Maloney has joined the Chicago Fire as the MLS club’s latest Designated Player.

Maloney turned 32 on Saturday and will be unveiled by Chicago on Monday (though they kinda did that on Sunday via Twitter).

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Still quite active in the Scotland set-up as the Tartan Army hopes for a Euro 2016 berth, Maloney had been at Wigan since his the end of his second spell with Celtic in 2011.

He’s an FA Cup hero from Wigan’s memorable 2013 run to Europe, and scored twice this Fall, against Poland and Ireland, in Euro qualifying for Scotland. The nation is level with Germany for second in Group D after four rounds.

From Chicago-Fire.com:

“Shaun is a very experienced player, having played in both the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, and we’re very happy to have signed someone of his caliber,” said Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop. “His style of play fits in exactly with what we’re trying to do at the Fire. He’s a hard-working, attack-minded player who is really going to help this team and we’re excited to have signed him.”

Chicago is going to look wildly different this season, with Maloney joined Razvan Cocis, David Accam, Adailton, Michael Stephens and Kennedy Igboananike joining the fray. Three new Designated Players — Maloney, Accam and Igboananike — should have Fire fans cautiously optimistic.