Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s disappointing Manchester United career is officially finished, as the 32-year-old World Cup winner has signed a one-year deal with MLS side Chicago Fire.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
According to the Chicago Tribune, which broke the story late Monday night with quotes from Chicago general manager Nelson Rodriguez, head coach Veljko Paunovic and Schweinsteiger himself, the deal will pay the German international $4.5 million for the 2017 season. Reports over the winter stated Chicago and Schweinsteiger were discussing a three-year, $16.5-million deal. This is much better than that would have been, but maybe still not great.
For starters, he’s 32, while the rest of the league spent the entire offseason shedding the “retirement league” stigma which dogged it ever since David Beckham arrived to the creation of the Designated Player rule. While going against the grain is far from a crippling blow, he’s still 32 and has started all of two games (six total appearances for club and country, none of which came in the Premier League — 134 total minutes) since the start of the current PL season in August.
Secondly, where’s he going to play? This is kind of like when Steven Gerrard came to the LA Galaxy, and no one knew how he’d fit into that team. (Spoiler: Not great.) Dax McCarty and Juninho were both acquired during the offseason to play together as deep-sitting midfielders who on occasion push forward to support more attack-minded players. That’s basically Schweinsteiger’s game (at least it was), except they can run a little bit. To play all three would be to play without a single creative bone in an extraordinarily immobile, limited midfield. To play two of the three would be to sit either the team’s most expensive, famous star, or sit one of its two best players. Neither makes
a whole lot of any sense.
Finally, the Fire are the Fire again. The Fire are the Fire.