Manchester United have agreed to let German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger join MLS side Chicago Fire. The deal between the two clubs was agreed on Monday subject to a medical and visa approval.
Basti joined the Reds in the summer of 2015 and was a calming influence in the middle of midfield for LVG’s side. The World Cup winner could dictate the tempo of a match which despite his ageing years, was pivotal in bringing Champions League football back to Old Trafford. In the two seasons he spent under Van Gaal he made 18 appearances with Mourinho allowing him to contribute a couple to that number this season.
He was never in favour for the current Boss. Mourinho would make him train alone or with the Under-23 side for most of the season as he was deemed surplus to requirements as Carrick was Mourinho’s man. Jose commented earlier this year that he has Carrick, ‘why would he need another Carrick?’ However despite being shockingly mistreated for a footballing legend and World Cup winner just a couple of years earlier, he continued to work hard and show his support for the side, offering numerous tweets and messages of support before games and releasing posts telling the United faithful that he would keep working and he loves the club.
The fans took to him even more during this period. They felt sympathy for the way he was being treated and thought he deserved to be back in the mix. Schweinsteiger returned to the first-team set-up just prior to a Europa League game against Fenerbahce in November and made his return to the pitch in an EFL Cup hammering of West Ham on 30th November. The cheers when he ran onto the pitch were huge, it was quite a warming thing to experience. It felt like the 32-year-old had been a United player for 10 years but really he had just shown loyalty and hard work for the shirt and that is a trait very few players possess in the modern game.
However, since the game against West Ham he has only made a further three appearances, scoring one goal. His last game for United was a Europa League tire against St Etienne at Old Trafford on the 22nd February. United are letting him go as it is currently the MLS transfer period and they have requested he joins immediately.
“We would have preferred it to happen in January but United were understandably reluctant to let him leave. I think we wore them down with our persistence,” said Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez.
Schweinsteiger left a video message for the United fans and tweeted “Thanks to all fans, the whole staff and my teammates of @ManUtd! I will never forget my time with the club, but now it’s time for a change!”
We wish the Deutsche football master all the best as he will presumably see out his footballing days in the sun and strong winds of Chicago. He is a classy footballer but more importantly, a very classy personality.