The midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has completed his move to the Chicago Fire from Manchester United.
The German World Cup winner will move to the Major League Soccer club on a one-year contract. The 32-year-old Schweinsteiger was quoted in the Chicago Tribune 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.”
United have yet to comment on the story.
Schweinsteiger moved to Old Trafford from Bayern Munich in July 2015 but has struggled to make the impact expected of him.
The manager, José Mourinho, did not play him this season until the EFL Cup win against West Ham on 30 November, and Schweinsteiger has made four appearances in all this term. At one stage United even wrote him off as an asset in their accounts.
The Chicago Fire are certain he will be of value to them. The Fire general manager, Nelson Rodríguez, 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 $4.5m (£3.6m) and with an initial one-year contract.
The 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.