Bastian Schweinsteiger heading for Chicago Fire?

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Photo: AFP

Will the former Germany captain become the latest high-profile player to cross the Pacific?

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Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has joined Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire on a one-year deal, according to sources.

While the authenticity of the transfer is yet to be officially confirmed by either of the three parties involved, news has been spreading like wildfire after the Chicago Tribune ran a story confirming the move on Monday.

Initially a winger, before transforming into a central midfielder who could dictate the tempo of a game with his metronomic range of passing coupled with some hard-running in the middle of the pitch, he won the Bundesliga Player of the Year accolade in 2013.

A legend at Bayern Munich, where he won the Bundesliga several times and the UEFA Champions League in 2013, Schweinsteiger moved to the English giants in the summer of 2015 for a reported fee of €9 million and enjoyed a decent maiden season in England under Louis van Gaal.

Van Gaal, who managed him while the duo were at Bayern, was replaced by Jose Mourinho the following year and all of a sudden the German found himself out of a team that were competing for four trophies in the 2016-17 season.

Injuries to midfielders allowed the German, who is married to retired tennis star Ana Ivanovic, to get a few games under his belt but with not a single appearance in the Premier League and starts reserved only for cup games, his time at Old Trafford was running out.

The midfielder, who won the FIFA World Cup in 2014, captained Germany at the UEFA European Championships in 2016 and announced his retirement from international football after their exit at the hands of host France in the semifinals. Having made his debut in 2004, he had amassed an impressive 121 appearances for the four-time world champions.

The move to the MLS, where several big-names such as Andrea Pirlo and David Villa play, makes sense at this stage in his career and he can easily become the focal point for the Chicago Fire.

While his lack of match fitness may be an issue, a player of his pedigree should be able to get settled fairly quickly in the 2017 MLS season, which began on March 3 and will conclude in October. An official confirmation is expected to be made within the next couple of days.

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