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Transfer News: Bastian Schweinsteiger leaves Manchester United for MLS’ Chicago Fire

The German legend ends a disappointing spell at United.

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United were already heading to the USA this summer, but it seems one (former) employee is going to beat them there. Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Germany and Bayern Munich legend, latterly employed as perhaps the world’s best-paid mascot, has left Manchester United to join the Chicago Fire and MLS. The Chicago Tribune broke the news late on Monday that Schweinsteiger had signed a one-year Designated Player contract with the Fire, presumably on a free transfer from United.

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 via the club. “My move to Chicago Fire is no different. Through my conversations with Nelson and Pauno, I'm convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project.

Schweinsteiger arrived at United in the summer of 2015 in what ultimately will be remembered as a sorry end to an illustrious career in Europe. He made fewer than 40 appearances across a season and a half stint that was defined more by his unacceptable fitness levels under Louis van Gaal, and his total ostracism under Jose Mourinho, than by any achievements on the pitch.

After Mourinho made it absolutely clear that Schweinsteiger was unwanted, he eventually welcomed the German back into the fold and started him in an FA Cup tie against Wigan in January. Despite scoring one goal and assisting another, Schweinsteiger’s only involvement since was a brief substitute appearance in the Europa League.

Even with Paul Pogba currently missing through injury, Morgan Schneiderlin already sold to Everton in January, and United’s lack of midfield depth becoming a pressing concern, Mourinho apparently feels strongly enough about Schweinsteiger’s inability to contribute to allow him to leave.

Schweinsteiger has contributed next to nothing at United, but with crucial games now coming thick and fast for the Reds as they seek success on two fronts, reducing the numbers in midfield may come back to haunt Mourinho. As for Schweinsteiger, he may be in for a rude surprise when faced with the physical demands of MLS, but best of luck to him all the same.