Rumors about Bastian Schweinsteiger have been swirling for months, but the move is finally happening.
The 32-year-old German was on Germany's 2014 World Cup winning team and has 121 caps and 24 goals for the national team before retiring from the national team in August.
"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," Schweinsteiger said. "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."
He brings a ton of experience and a resume filled with success at every level. The concern now is how healthy he can be. Schweinsteiger hasn't played as much with Manchester United and suffered a knee injury late last season and he hasn't had consistent playing time since.
He played in 18 Premier League matches last season, but seemed to have lost his spot under manager Jose Mourinho. This season he has only appeared in cup matches. In four appearances this season he scored one goal.
Schweinsteiger spent almost all of his previous club career with Bayern Munich. He played more than 300 career games with the German giants, winning eight Bundesliga titles and a Champions League in 2013. He joined Manchester United in July of 2015.
His contract is a one-year deal and the Tribune it is worth $4.5 million with a mutual option for another year.
Schweinsteiger was seen meeting with Fire coach Veljko Paunovic in Manchester in November. The move didn't in the MLS offseason, but the Fire were finally able to secure the deal.
"Having the strongest possible midfield is essential for how we want to play," Paunovic said. "We see Bastian helping our organization of the attack, and impacting the final third build-up with his vision and creativity to produce the final pass, as well as his capacity to score goals. His versatility on the field, and his immense experience at the highest levels of this sport will be a great benefit to our team."
Schweinsteiger is a central midfielder, which makes for some tough decisions ahead for Paunovic. Two of the Fire's three notable offseason acquisitions, U.S. national teamer Dax McCarty and Brazilian Juninho, are both central midfielders. Schweinsteiger typically plays higher up the field than those two, but finding a way to get all three on the field together will require some creativity.
One option would be for Paunovic to go for a 3-5-2 formation with three center mids, something Paunovic tried a few times last season. Another option would be to play Schweinsteiger as an attacking midfielder and see if he can be a playmaker in MLS.
Regardless of the fit, the Fire added a big name player with a top tier resume for the first time since Mexican legend Cuauhtemoc Blanco played for the Fire from 2007-2009.