A World Cup Champion has arrived in Chicago to play soccer. The Chicago Fire gambled big and have convinced a world famous player to join their club and cause. He will be joining a new club in a new city in a new league in a new country. The club he joins is incomparable to the old soccer world he leaves behind. His new club is not an elite world beater but a 20-year-old club in the midst of a rebuild. The official introduction for Bastian Schweinsteiger is set for Wednesday afternoon. The months-long courtship with the Fire has been a success and and now the real test begins.
Bastian Schweinsteiger a Good Gamble for the Chicago Fire
Health is Key
The gamble to spend big on Schweinsteiger will be a good one if the German can remain fit and healthy. If he plays on a consistent basis the investment should pay off. The big question is, was all the time he spent outside of the first team at Manchester United a good or bad thing for his high mileage body? The time away may have been therapeutic on the player yet may have also added some rust. Schweinsteiger is a high class player that should produce good performances if he plays enough matches.
Schweinsteiger Has On and Off the Field Appeal
Off the field, Schweinsteiger appears very gracious and tactful. He showed his diplomacy under adverse circumstances during his time at Manchester United and exited the club diplomatically. The German is well versed with the media and highly marketable. The champion midfielder and his famous spouse should be able to endear themselves to the second city. Even though Nelson Rodriguez was insistent that signing Bastian was all about the soccer, it is hard to believe the players high profile wasn’t a factor.
Fire Are Showing Ambition to Improve
The Schweinsteiger move shows some real ambition from the Fire and a willingness to put pressure on themselves. Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and the club as a whole are now facing the management challenge of their lives. A club which has had a good share of losses on and off the field now has to raise the level of every aspect of their operation. As of Tuesday evening, soccer royalty will now be gracing the halls of the Fire facilities. A player whose fame eclipses the club he’s joining by an unfathomable amount.
The Fire are in a situation where they need a lot of help both on and off the field. This is a club that has had a gradual slide to the bottom of the MLS standings and eventually found it in 2015. All of that losing has led to a great amount of fan discontent and turnover within the organization. But now the Fire are in the midst a large scale multi-year overhaul. Schweinsteiger is now the fourth big signing for the 2017 season and the biggest in the club’s history. The Fire need butts in the seats just as much as they need results on the field. The fame helps the Fire’s cause but top performances are needed too.
Deviating From the Status Quo
The Schweinsteigers new city loves their sports and their teams, but not the Fire in recent times. The Fire could have acquired a dozen players for the money they are paying the German legend. That tactic would not have been seen as visible deviation from their former status quo. The Fire do appear to be building towards a more solid squad for the future with their previous offseason signings. The Schweinsteiger addition now looks like adding gasoline on the Fire for the right now.
Toyota Park hosts three games in a row in April as Schweinsteiger enters the fold. Getting their new signing on the field and winning two or three games at home should get the fanbase excited and build some momentum. The near month-long home stand should give the Fire a platform to collect points and attract fans to see Bastian Schweinsteiger as a man in red.