UPDATE (Feb. 5) – Chicago Fire FC have reached an agreement with Ligue 1's Lyon over transferring Swiss international midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri for €6.5 million/$7.5 million, pending a medical, sources tell MLSsoccer.com.
Shaqiri will soon finalize/sign personal terms and conduct a medical in the next day or two to officially complete the move.
The timing means, should everything go smoothly as the deal reaches its expected finish line, Shaqiri would be on track to be available for selection in Chicago's 2022 opener at Gonzalo Higuain and Inter Miami CF on Feb. 26.
Shaqiri was held out of Lyon's matchday squad on Saturday against Monaco with a move to the Fire close.
Shaqiri will be a Designated Player for Chicago, one of two currently alongside Gaston Gimenez. The Fire continue to pursue further additions, including working to acquire a Young DP to round out their three DP spots. They also have one U22 Initiative slot open.
ORIGINAL (Feb. 4) – Chicago Fire FC are nearing a deal to acquire Switzerland international midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri from Ligue 1 side Lyon, sources told MLSsoccer.com.
The deal is at advanced stages but not 100% done yet. One source noted the transfer fee paid to Lyon will be around €6.5 million/$7.5 million. He would be a Designated Player.
Shaqiri, 30, has 100 caps with the Swiss national team, scoring 26 goals. Currently with Lyon, he has previously featured for Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and FC Basel, where he rose to stardom. Chicago sporting director Georg Heitz worked for Basel when Shaqiri broke through.
A winner at most stops in his career, Shaqiri has won the Champions League twice (Bayern, Liverpool), the Bundesliga three times, Premier League once and the Swiss league three times.
This season Shaqiri has two goals and three assists in 11 league appearances (nine starts) for Lyon, a French club he joined from Liverpool just before the summer window closed. During his time in England, Shaqiri had eight goals and nine assists, largely a sparkplug off the bench for Jurgen Klopp's side, helping lead them to Champions League and Premier League titles.
Shaqiri broke through with Basel during the 2009-10 season and quickly became one of Europe's top rising talents, signed by Bayern Munich after a host of top clubs chased the deal.
The left-footed attacker would stand among the biggest stars in MLS if and when the deal goes official. He can play as a No. 10 or a winger. Shaqiri remains a regular with Switzerland's national team, which has qualified for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Chicago enter the 2022 season with two open DP slots, with only Paraguay international midfielder Gaston Gimenez holding that status. They're led by new head coach Ezra Hendrickson and traded for striker Kacper Przybylko last week from the Philadelphia Union.
Shaqiri would spearhead a revamped Chicago attack, with Przybylko and rising Colombian talent Jhon Duran also joining ahead of 2022. The Fire will lean on young imported talents, like Duran and fellow U22 Initiative signing Federico Navarro. Their academy corps is led by 17-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, while Chicago signed center back Rafael Czichos from German side FC Köln this winter.
The Fire have made significant moves since Joe Mansueto took over as majority owner two years ago, but Shaqiri would by far be the biggest. Chicago have a history of acquiring global stars, like Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Bastian Schweinsteiger and more.
Chicago open the 2022 campaign Feb. 26 at Inter Miami CF.