Can the Fire land Bastian Schweinsteiger?

Bastian Schweinsteiger's days at Manchester United appear to be numbered. Relegated to training with the reserves by new manager Jose Mourinho despite a contract with two years remaining, Schweinsteiger fueled speculation last week by proclaiming that Manchester United would be his "last club in Europe." The player hasn't given any public indication that he's looking to move right away despite the prospect of sitting out of top level competition for several months.

The European transfer window closes on Wednesday and reports overseas indicate that United would be open to accepting a relatively small transfer fee in order to move the German midfielder. Schweinsteiger's "last club in Europe" stance would certainly limit any buyers and that has led to assumptions that his next stop would be in the United States or China. Sports Illustrated reported last week that the Chicago Fire would be interested in him if he did make a move to MLS. That possibility is largely fueled by one the league's player acquisition mechanisms giving the Fire first crack. Chicago currently holds a Discovery claim on Schweinsteiger and sources confirm the SI report that there is interest.

With the MLS transfer window closed, the Fire or any other team in the league would not be able to add Schweinsteiger now unless the player were out of contract. It remains a possibility that United could buy out the remaining two years of his contract essentially freeing him to make a move now but that's not likely. MUFC paid a reported €9m transfer fee to Bayern Munich in 2015 for him. His annual salary of approximately $10m US could also be a stumbling block in an MLS move unless a new deal was negotiated.

It's more likely that if a deal is completed that it would occur during the upcoming January transfer window where the Fire are looking to be active in pursuing a veteran central midfielder. Schweinsteiger would fit the bill but he's also not the top choice on the Fire's winter wish list. They also hold the Discovery rights on PSV Eindhoven midfielder and Mexican international Andres Guaradado, who has publicly expressed interest in MLS. Guardado also has two years remaining on his contract and numerous potential suitors within the league. Expansion side Atlanta United is set to make a press for him and the two LA teams have also raised their hands according to league sources.

Schweinsteiger would pacify those who are looking for a big name attraction in Chicago but he doesn't come without risk. At 32 years old he's probably past his prime playing days considering a history of knee and leg injuries that have slowed him over the last two seasons. If healthy, he should be able to play at a high level in MLS but Mourinho may be sensing that he doesn't have enough to perform consistently in the top leagues. Before the move to Manchester United, he spent his entire career with Bayern Munich compiling an impressive 8 Bundesliga titles and 7 German Cup wins. He was also an integral part of Bayern's 2013 Champion's League winning side and was a member of Germany's 2014 World Cup winning team.

Guardado will turn 30 in September and is still playing at a high level with PSV and Mexico. An SI report pegged his potential MLS salary at a more manageable $4m per year on top of a transfer fee for securing him from PSV. He can play in central midfield and on the outside and would click all the boxes necessary to be a hit in Chicago. If the Fire want Guardado, the trick now would be in convincing him that a move to MLS in January would be more attractive in Chicago than it would be in Atlanta.

The Fire will be in the market for a potential "big" signing this winter but have failed to come up with one during the well publicized pursuits of Jermaine Jones and Dider Drogba. Landing either Schweinsteiger or Guardado would help on the pitch, make some headlines and help assure supporters that the club is serious about regaining its status in MLS. If either of the two end up in the US playing anywhere but Chicago while the Fire are left holding another bag of TAM it will lead to more questions and even more vociferous discontent.

The Fire and the league can't afford to have the Chicago market continuing to flounder on and off the field. The January window looms larger than ever.

Filed under: 2016 Regular Season

Tags: Chicago Fire

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  • I'm curious. Is Neven Subotic still playing at the top level? He's young and Serbian. Could he be the next Arne Friedrich for us?

  • In reply to Doug:

    He'd be fantastic but why would he leave Dortmund now with 2 years left on his current deal? Still only 27.

  • The fact that teams are entering this league at the $100mil level indicates that there are deep pockets that are willing to pay big dollars for higher-end talent. I only see this increasing as the years go on. Andell can't afford to view the world at 2009 expenditure levels.

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    Would Guardado even want to come to MLS any more since it seems like any Mexican NTer that comes here doesn't get called up any more?

  • In reply to Jimmy Garcia:

    Who's here that would get a call? Marquez was called up regularly while he was in New York.

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    In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Well did dos Santos really decline the Copa America call-up, or did he not even get one?

  • In reply to Jimmy Garcia:

    Seems he declined although it's not really clear why.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    I had heard from a Mexican contact that it was due to partying. I have no way to confirm it... but that's what I guess is believed in Mexico.

  • In reply to edubs:

    He declined it from what I've heard, not the other way around.

  • Neither Schweinsteiger nor Guardado will sign with the Fire as long as Andell Holdings owns the franchise.

  • In reply to Bogdan:

    Andrew is the biggest reason why players of that caliber would want to come to Chicago, both because of his passion for winning and his willingness to spend big.

  • In reply to iron81:

    Dude, don't eat the mushrooms that grow in your yard,

  • In reply to iron81:

    Do you have a news letter I can subscribe to?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    You blocked me on Twitter, thus removing access to my news letter.

  • In reply to iron81:

    ENEMY OF THE FIRE! DOUBTER!!!

    Iron81, you continually sell AH short. Andrew has MORE than a WILLINGNESS to spend BIG! He HAS spent big!

    For example, I remember when he brought in Juan Luis Anangono! AND I remember when he offered $1 hot dogs on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS! THIS IS SACRIFICE!!!!

    YOUR OBVIOUS DOUBTS SHOW THAT YOU DO NOT SUPPORT ANDREW AND THEREFORE YOU ARE AN ENEMY OF THE FIRE! AH'S UNENDING LOVE FOR US IS UNFATHOMABLE AND BEYOND YOUR UNDERSTANDING! STOP PRETENDING THAT YOU COMPREHEND WHAT HE THINKS IS BEST FOR THE FIRE AND FOR US!!! ABSOLUTE REVERENCE IS IMPERATIVE, ESPECIALLY IN THIS FORUM OF APOSTATES!!!

  • In reply to iron81:

    You are an interesting creature that's for sure iron 81. Are you AH's son-in-law or something? I can't decide what's more fun to speculate about, where basti and Guardado end up or why you continue to defend the current ownership. Fwiw, based on recent history, Guardado will end up in LA via a Fire loss in Garber rock, paper, scissors and basti will end up in Seattle or Atlanta because he'd rather play on turf with bad knees than try and fix the Dumpster Fire

  • In reply to AJties:

    Mistress! NOT son-in-law.

  • In reply to iron81:

    How's the view from Upside-Down Land?

  • LAG will enter Jan with a free DP slot. What could Chicago do to convince a player to come here instead of there? Nothing.

    I would love to see one of them come here, but I feel like we will hardly be anyone's first choice. Have to toss around those dollars to get it done.

  • In reply to KChance:

    It is in the league's best interest to encourage a Chicago revitalization.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    Does Bruce Arena or Anschutz care about the leagues best interest? Ok that was snarky lol, but given their history of rules "bending" for them and Arena's general attitude, I have a hard time believing they would be willing to step aside on a player they want for the better of the league.

    That said, you know a hell of a lot more than I do about the league and its interworkings. January should be interesting to say the least. Like you said above, can not come out empty handed again.

    Great write up and work as always.

  • In reply to KChance:

    Thanks.....the league is well aware that they need a vital Chicago market in order to reach the heights that they want to get to.

  • In reply to KChance:

    I've heard that the free DB slot at LAG has already been promised to one of the names there already that isn't a DP. A back office deal of, we will pay you below the DP level this year, but back fill your pay next year as a DP sort of thing.

  • In reply to edubs:

    Yea i think that DP slot was "promised" to NDJ after Gerrard retired in January. But now it looks like Nigel is being transferred to Turkey. So with him and Gerrard being gone in Jan, they will have a spot open.

    But this is MLS, never really know whats happening lol

  • In reply to KChance:

    That sounds about right.

  • Would lack of investment in club infrastructure(ie dedicated training facilities, stadium location, current state of surrounding areas by the stadium, and a stadium that is rented) turn away players like Schweinsteiger and Guardado?

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Maybe only if they have to walk across the gravel to sign the contract on the rented turf field's pitch. ;)

  • In reply to penapirata:

    Yes.

  • I would much prefer Guardado over Schweinsteiger. Guardado is a goal scorer and playmaker. Schweinsteiger is more of a German Polster (except with both a left and right foot). Guardado has broken my heart many times while playing internationally against the US, but I would welcome him wholeheartedly to the Fire just as I did when Blanco came. Schweinsteiger has been awesome and is better than anyone the Fire has now, but I feel Guardado would make the team far more fun to watch.

  • Heard a very good point brought up on XMFC why Basti wouldnt come to Chicago. His playing years are obviously numbered. He needs to maximize the remaining time staying healthy and making $$ as much as he can. His whole career he had the best. The best coaching and training staff, the best medical staff, the best facilities. So why come here? A club with questionable staff in the all the above, mediocre facilities and a current train wreck of organization and team. He will come to MLS, but it will be with a club that takes care of him for a couple of years rather than grind him to a nub in one season.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    Perception will be reality until they do something to change it.

  • In reply to Fireman1:

    Agreed.

  • schweinstieger or cuadrado signing for the fire, is that a rhetorical question?

  • In reply to DerSting:

    My feelings exactly. This is just a fun bit of clickbait. I've actually heard of both of these guys, which pretty much guarantees that current Fire ownership won't sign them.

  • I just read an article saying that nrod has been given the ok to acquire yet even more funny money for the rights to schweinsteiger.

  • In reply to edubs:

    I think you're referring to a satirical piece from Nutmeg News.

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    But doesn't give more of a realistic view than satire?

  • In reply to Guillermo Rivera:

    haha, yup. oops. It was just so likely that they will deal the allocation spot for TAM that I didn't realize it was satire.

  • Want a fun experiment? Pretend we just won a game and re-read the comments. Adds a different element to what's being said.

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