Fire acquire German star Bastian Schweinsteiger from Manchester United

More than four months after the Fire’s courtship of Bastian Schweinsteiger ignited during lunch at an Italian restaurant in England, the decorated German midfielder is officially moving to MLS.

The Fire on Monday acquired Schweinsteiger from Manchester United, finalizing a move that injects credibility and international star power into a rebuilding club that has finished at the bottom of the standings the last two seasons.

Schweinsteiger, 32, comes to Chicago as only the second reigning World Cup champion to move to MLS. He could join coach Veljko Paunovic’s team by the middle of next week, depending on his P1 visa application and a physical.

“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,” Fire general manager Nelson 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.”

Schweinsteiger signed a one-year designated player contract that guarantees him $4.5 million in 2017, a source close to the team said. The deal makes him one of the 10 highest-paid players in MLS and includes a mutual option for at least one more year.

He’s the latest European heavyweight to extend his club career in the United States, and he brings a resume that matches any of the brightest MLS stars.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great,” Schweinsteiger said in a statement via the club. “My move to Chicago Fire is no different. 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.”

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