The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Sunday that the club has reached a transfer agreement with English Championship side Wigan Athletic for Shaun Maloney. The Scottish midfielder has signed with the Fire and will be added to the roster as a Designated Player.
“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,” said Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop. “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.”
Maloney joins the Fire after three and a half years with Wigan. The 32-year-old signed with the Latics on Aug. 31, 2011 and made his debut in a Carling Cup match on Sept. 13, 2011, and made his Premier League start on March 17, 2012 against West Brom Albion. In the next match, Maloney scored his first goal for the club, converting a penalty kick in a 2-1 victory over Liverpool on March 24, 2012. His next goal for Wigan came on April 11, 2012 with a game-winning shot from outside the 18 yard box in a 1-0 victory over Manchester United. Two matches later, Maloney added a goal and an assist as Wigan defeated Newcastle 4-0 on April 28, 2012.
On April 13, 2013 Maloney scored the first goal of a 2-0 victory over Millwall in the FA Cup semifinal match. In the final match, Maloney provided the assist on Ben Watson’s 91st minute game-winning goal as Wigan upset Manchester City at Wembley Stadium to capture their first ever FA Cup trophy and the first major trophy in club history.
Across all competitions, Maloney appeared in a combined 91 matches, scoring 15 goals and adding 17 assists for Wigan.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Fire,” said Maloney. “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.”
“It’s important to have players in from the start of preseason and get them integrated into the team and with the other players,” said Yallop. “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.”