Wigan Athletic midfielder Shaun Maloney has left the Championship side for MLS outfit Chicago Fire after over three years with the Latics.
The 32-year-old, said: “I’m very happy to be joining the Fire. I owe a lot to the manager Frank Yallop and the owner Andrew Hauptman for getting this done. I certainly didn’t expect it to get done this quickly, so I appreciate the faith that they’ve shown in me. It’s a brilliant league and I’m really hopeful that I’m going to enjoy Chicago and be a big part of what the club is building. I’d also like to show respect for my previous club and thank the owner and manager over at Wigan for letting this happen.”
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Yallop, on signing Maloney, commented: “Shaun is a very experienced player, having played in both the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, and we’re very happy to have signed someone of his caliber. His style of play fits in exactly with what we’re trying to do at the Fire. He’s a hard-working, attack-minded player who is really going to help this team and we’re excited to have signed him.
“It’s important to have players in from the start of preseason and get them integrated into the team and with the other players. It takes time to learn each others’ traits and how they go about things on the field, so it’s great to have Shaun in with the group from the start. We worked very hard to get this deal done and feel very good that he’s finally with us now.”
Despite reports in the Scottish media linking Celtic with a move for their former players, no official contact was made between the Parkhead side and Wigan to take the Malaysian-born Scotland international back for a third stint.
Maloney has played 23 times this season for Wigan in all competitions, scoring just twice. He has played 91 times in total for Wigan since signing from Celtic in 2011 and scoring 15 times.
Meanwhile, Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee is backing Maloney’s move to the MLS and says that it would not effect his international career.
McGhee said: “We wouldn’t have any concerns about Shaun moving to the MLS. He looks after himself, he is very conscious of his own health and fitness. At the moment he is playing in the Championship and the American scene is probably closer to that than the Premier League. So I think it would be okay.
“It will be like any other national team who have players playing abroad. We’d call him in when we needed him. Kenny Miller did it. Obviously, the logistics of it, getting back and forward, are a bit more difficult but we would still expect Shaun to turn up.”