The rumors linking German star Bastian Schweinsteiger to MLS took an intriguing turn this week, when English outlet The Express reported that the out-of-favor Manchester United midfielder met with Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic in England on Wednesday.
The Express tracked Schweinsteiger to a restaurant outside Manchester, where he reportedly sat down with Paunovic for a four-hour lunch. A Fire spokesperson wouldn’t confirm on Friday that the meeting took place, but did say that Paunovic is currently in Europe on a scouting trip.
This isn’t the first time that Schweinsteiger, 32, has been linked to the Fire. Sports Illustrated reported in August that the club would be interested in him if he made a move to MLS, and Fire Confidential followed a week later with news that Chicago hold a Discovery Claim on the decorated midfielder.
Schweinsteiger hasn’t played for Manchester United since Jose Mourinho took over as manager this summer and is reportedly in talks with the club to buy out the rest of his contract, which runs until 2018. If Schweinsteiger and United are able to agree to a buyout, the veteran German would be able to join a new club on a free transfer.
Schweinsteiger himself said in August that Manchester United would be his “last club in Europe.”
One of the most decorated players in the history of the German national team, Schweinsteiger won eight Bundesliga titles in 13 years with Bayern Munich before moving to Manchester last summer. A member of Germany’s squad at every major tournament since Euro 2004, he recorded 24 goals in 121 international appearances and won the 2014 World Cup before announcing his international retirement in August.