Could Bastian Schweinsteiger be the next superstar to make the jump to Major League Soccer?
The 32-year-old almost certainly appears on the move somewhere, having been frozen out at Manchester United by new boss Jose Mourinho. And on Wednesday, Schweinsteiger told his fans via Twitter that United will be his last club in Europe.
Though Schweinsteiger vows to keep fighting for his place and doesn’t state any desire to leave United, Mourinho has made it abundantly clear this summer that the 32-year-old no longer has a future with the Red Devils, having made him clean out his locker and sending him to train with the reserves. With the longtime Bayern Munich star ruling out another transfer within Europe, he’s practically asking clubs in MLS or Asia to come get him.
While the Chinese Super League has become an attractive option to European players seeking a large payday, a move to America makes much more sense. MLS is a higher quality league, Schweinsteiger has spoken highly of the States in the past, and he recently married longtime girlfriend and tennis star Ana Ivanovic. It's hard to envision the pair of world stars settling down somewhere in China (or Qatar or India) over, say, New York or LA.
There have also been previous rumors linking the midfielder to MLS. Before signing for United last summer, Schweinsteiger said he was still too young to make a move overseas, but it appears to be his best option now.
MLS's transfer deadline already passed, so Man United would have to buy out the rest of Schweinsteiger’s two-year, £160,000-a-week contract and allow him to leave for free to facilitate a move this year, something United reportedly are considering. Otherwise, Schweinsteiger would keep collecting his checks and watch United from the stands until he can move in the winter.
Which MLS clubs could then make a run at the former Germany captain?
The Chicago Fire desperately need help anywhere they can find it, and have made unsuccessful runs at the likes of Didier Drogba, Jermaine Jones and Alejandro Bedoya. The LA Galaxy and New York clubs are out of the running as they don't have any Designated Player spots available, but teams like DC United and Western Conference-leading FC Dallas do. Schweinsteiger could also become the first Designated Player for expansion clubs Minnesota United FC or Atlanta United FC, both of whom begin play in MLS next season.
There should be no shortage of potential suitors in any case. Schweinsteiger only turned 32 earlier this month and despite being bogged by down injuries by last season, has proven he still has plenty left in the tank when healthy. In MLS, he could become the next big playmaker after Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and Kaka to prolong his storied career.