TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Chicago Fire FC have made a major splash by acquiring Switzerland national team midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri from Ligue 1’s Lyon as their most expensive transfer signing, the MLS side announced Wednesday.
The move makes Shaqiri a Designated Player and his contract runs through the 2024 season. MLSsoccer.com’s Tom Bogert has reported Chicago paid $7.5 million to land the former Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool star.
“We’re extremely pleased to formally welcome Xherdan Shaqiri to the Fire,” sporting director Georg Heitz said in a release. “Xherdan is a game-changing player and someone who will bring joy to our supporters and the city of Chicago.
“As one of the most accomplished Swiss athletes of his generation, Xherdan joins us at a very important time for the club and fully believes in what we are aiming to accomplish. We look forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago very soon.”
Shaqiri has won 17 major trophies during his professional career and earned 100 caps with Switzerland, scoring 26 goals while featuring in three consecutive FIFA World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018) and back-to-back European Championships (2016, 2020). The 30-year-old has helped Switzerland qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup by winning UEFA Group C.
Shaqiri originally began his career with FC Basel, where Heitz served as the sporting director from 2009-17. While at Bayern Munich, Shaqiri played alongside former Chicago star Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Shaqiri, who will wear No. 10 in Chicago, has twice won the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup – in 2013 with Bayern Munich and in 2019 with Liverpool. He’s won league titles in England, Germany and his native Switzerland.
A centerpiece as Chicago enter their first year under head coach Ezra Hendrickson, Shaqiri holds a DP spot alongside Paraguay international midfielder Gaston Gimenez. Their U22 Initiative players are midfielder Federico Navarro and forward Jhon Duran, while homegrown goalkeeper Gaga Slonina is a rising star.
The Fire have missed four straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and are seeking a return to their glory days as a new era begins, with owner and chairman Joe Mansueto investing in the squad.