Rumours that Bastian Schweinsteiger could complete a winter switch to the US are likely to grow considerably stronger after Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber admitted that the Manchester United outcast would be welcomed to the MLS "with open arms".
The former Germany captain, who bid a tearful farewell to international football in July after 12 years, 121 senior caps and one World Cup triumph, endured an injury-plagued first season in English football following a high-profile move from Bayern Munich last summer. He has been completely frozen out of the first-team picture at Old Trafford since Jose Mourinho succeeded Louis van Gaal.
"Of course we follow Bastian's situation," Garber told Kicker, as relayed by Sky Sports. "He's an old acquaintance for the US, for example through the 2014 World Cup, when he played against the US team.
"He also played against the MLS All-Stars with Bayern in 2014. We would welcome Bastian with open arms. He would be a leader for our many young players."
Despite proving that he had recovered from consecutive knee ligament injuries by featuring for Die Mannschaft at Euro 2016, Schweinsteiger is yet to even make the bench so far this term either in the Premier League or the opening stages of the EFL Cup. Any hopes of featuring in the Europa League were also scuppered when he was left out of the club's 27-man group stage squad.
The 32-year-old, under contract until 2018, was clearly free to leave United before the close of the summer transfer window after being banished to train with the reserves, but stayed put despite reported late interest from the likes of Sporting CP. However, his continued omission by Mourinho continues to frustrate many former international teammates and German footballing luminaries, and has all but guaranteed that he will not remain in Manchester for much longer. The fact that he has been written off as an asset in the latest club accounts prove just how far the player has fallen in a relatively short space of time.
Schweinsteiger has already previously announced that he will not play for another European club after United and a move to America would appear to benefit both him and tennis star wife Ana Ivanovic. The MLS has persistently been mooted as his most likely destination and FC Dallas president Dan Hunt recently admitted his admiration for the experienced midfielder, dubbing him an "incredible player" and "a winner".
He did, though, stop short of confirming if he would be willing to use the franchise's last open designated player slot to sign Schweinsteiger at the end of 2016, claiming that was "difficult to predict" and insisting that the Western Conference leaders ideally wanted to fill that position with a new striker.