Manchester United’s out of favor midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is said to be in talks with the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer.
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Schweinsteiger, 32, has been ruthlessly cast aside by new United boss Jose Mourinho since he arrived at Old Trafford in the summer, with the former German national team captain not playing a single second in the Red Devils’ new regime and forced to train on his own until recently.
That has led to reports circulating widely about the Bayern Munich legend leaving United in January and it is reported by the BBC, among other, that he met with Chicago’s head coach Veljko Paunovic in Manchester over the past few days as the duo were spotted leaving the same restaurant.
It is believed that a move to MLS is far from imminent for Schweinsteiger, however with MLS Commissioner Don Garber previously stating their interest in Schweinsteiger and the player himself talking positively about moving to North America to finish his playing days, it seems very likely.
There is still plenty to sort out but it is unlikely United will request a transfer fee for Schweinsteiger as they’re eager to get his $190,000 a week wages off their wage bill.
Would MLS pay Schweinsteiger that kind of cash? Probably. Given his name, his pedigree and the fact that he was playing regularly in the Premier League last season (he was okay, not great but not bad) and captained the German national team at EURO 2016, it seems like a solid deal for everyone concerned. Plus, he’d be younger than when Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo arrived in MLS.
Why is Chicago at the top of the list to acquire Schweinsteiger?
Well, they have a somewhat ridiculous “Discovery Claim” on Schweinsteiger which, in MLS rules, means they discovered Schweinsteiger and therefore have first right of refusal to sign him before other teams. Yep. Still with me?
That said, with so much flux among the big-name Designated Players in MLS following the conclusion of the 2016 MLS season, it may be in Schweinsteiger’s best interests to wait it out and see if he’s wanted at New York City FC, LA Galaxy or maybe even new boys Atlanta United. Given Chicago’s recent struggles in MLS (they haven’t made the playoffs for four-straight seasons) he may fancy a move to LA or NYC.
Both NYCFC and the Galaxy currently have some open DP spots with Lampard confirming his departure from the Big Apple club, while Gerrard is expected to formally announce his departure from LA in the coming days, plus Robbie Keane’s future at the Galaxy is also up in the air.
Schweinsteiger will have options when he is allowed to transfer out of Manchester United in January, but joining Chicago is a coin-flip. Will he be a star in one of the biggest media markets in North America or struggled to find form as the Fire struggle to get back among MLS’ elite?