Bastian Schweinsteiger has completed a move to join the Chicago Fire, the Major League Soccer club confirmed to the Chicago Tribune on Monday night.
The Manchester United midfielder has been a long-term target for Chicago, having been spotted meeting with Fire manager Veljko Paunovic in November.
And with the former Germany star out of Jose Mourinho’s plans at Old Trafford, he could join up with the Fire as early as next week, pending only a visa and a medical, the Tribune reported.
“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,” Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez told the 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.”
Schweinsteiger signed a designated player contract that will give pay him $4.5 million in 2017, according to the Tribune, which also said the deal is for one year with a mutual option for the future.
A former Bayern Munich legend, Schweinsteiger joined Man United in 2015 but has been restricted to just 18 appearances for the club after falling out of favour with Mourinho in the summer of 2016.
The 32-year-old was told he was free to find another club, but despite interest from the MLS, China and Italy, Schweinsteiger opted to stay at United and fight for his place, at the same time as training away from the first team with the club’s youngsters.
After scoring against Wigan in the FA Cup on Jan. 29, Schweinsteiger has only made one substitute appearance for United in the Europa League on Feb. 22.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great,” Schweinsteiger said in a statement the Fire provided to the Tribune.
“My move to Chicago Fire is no different. Through my conversations with Nelson and [coach Veljko Paunovic], I’m convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project.”
The Fire have finished with the lowest point total in MLS the past two seasons and have only played in one playoff game since reaching the conference finals in 2009.
Schweinsteiger will join forwards David Accam and Nemanja Nikolic as DPs with Chicago, which also moved to add midfielders Dax McCarty and Juninho in the offseason.
The Fire have started the 2017 season with a win, a draw, and a defeat, most recently losing 4-0 to expansion side Atlanta United on Saturday.