Bastian Schweinsteiger says he is 'sad' to leave Manchester United for Chicago Fire
Last Updated: 21/03/17 7:12pm
Bastian Schweinsteiger has admitted he is sad to be leaving Manchester United after Chicago Fire confirmed he had joined them.
The MLS club are offering him a one-year contract worth £70,000 a week - which will make him one of the 10 highest-paid players in the MLS - after agreeing a deal with United late on Monday night.
Sky Sports News HQ understands Schweinsteiger is still in the United Kingdom and will jet out to Chicago to complete a medical once he obtains a work permit and a working visa.
"I am sad to leave so many friends at Manchester United," Schweinsteiger told United's official website. "But I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to take up the challenge at Chicago Fire.
"I have enjoyed working with the manager, the players and staff here and wish them all the best in the future. But I have to reserve special thanks to the United fans - whose support has been a very special part of my time in Manchester.
"I was delighted to be part of the squad that won the FA Cup for them last season and will always remember their energy and their passion. Now is the right time for me to start a new chapter in Chicago and I am looking forward to it."
Schweinsteiger will occupy a Designated Player spot in the club's squad and will be available for selection as long as he comes through his medical and acquires all the paperwork.
Fire owner and chairman Andrew Hauptman said: "Bastian Schweinsteiger is one of our sport's greatest champions.
"We are excited for soccer fans everywhere to have the opportunity to watch the most decorated player in the league during the Fire's 20th season."
Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic added: "His versatility on the field, and his immense experience at the highest levels of this sport will be a great benefit to our team."
Former United manager Louis van Gaal signed the German for around £14.5m from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2015.
Schweinsteiger was linked with a move to Chicago earlier this season but opted to stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place.
The midfielder had been frozen out by Jose Mourinho but began to train with the first-team again before Christmas and looked to have a future at the club at least for the rest of the season.
His first start in a year was in the FA Cup against Wigan Athletic in January. He has only played four games this season in all competitions and has not featured in the current Premier League campaign at all.
Chicago are attempting to rebuild after two disappointing seasons that saw them finish bottom of the MLS standings and Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez is hoping Schweinsteiger can help instil a winning mentality into the squad.
"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," Rodriguez said.
"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."