Chris Mueller – Orlando City – on dribble

TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Pre-contract

Orlando City SC forward Chris Mueller has signed a pre-contract to head to Europe after the 2021 MLS season, the club announced Wednesday evening.

Scottish Premiership side Hibernian then announced Thursday morning that Mueller would join them in January after signing a pre-contract. In a release, Orlando City said they’ve been in contract negotiations with Mueller “for some time” ahead of his deal expiring.

“The pre-contract was signed in line with all FIFA regulations,” the club release stated. “As noted, Mueller’s contract with Orlando City is valid through the end of the 2021 MLS season and will continue as a member of the Lions’ roster for the remainder of his time in Orlando.”

Mueller originally joined Orlando as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas. Since then, he’s posted 20 goals and 22 assists in 96 games (63 starts) for the club.

The Chicago-area native played a key role in 2020 as Orlando made the postseason for the first time in their history, sparked by a resurgence under head coach Oscar Pareja. Mueller’s form prompted a US men’s national team look, with two appearances and two goals, both of which came in a December 2020 rout of El Salvador.

While his next destination has now been determined, the winger figures to play a key role alongside the likes of Nani and Daryl Dike as Orlando chase another postseason run. They’re currently third in the Eastern Conference standings and challenging the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution for first place.

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