It’s official. Shaun Maloney has been transferred from MLS to English club Hull City.
The Fire announced Thursday a deal to send the Scottish midfielder, who arrived from Wigan Athletic just seven months ago on a Designated Player contract, back to England had been finalized. No terms were disclosed; last week, Fire head coach Frank Yallop said last week Maloney had asked to return for family reasons and that the club “did okay” on a transfer fee, which suggests the Fire has recouped whatever it paid for him in January. His base salary for the 2015 season was $1.55 million according to MLS Players Union documents.
“It’s tough to see a player of his quality leave but you have to take the human aspect of sport into consideration,” said Yallop in a team statement. “I’m pleased that the club, [owner] Andrew Hauptman, myself and [technical director] Brian Bliss were able to find a solution that worked for all parties involved and I wish Shaun nothing but the best.”
Maloney, 32, scored three goals and two assists in 14 appearances. Injuries and national-team callups caused him to miss nine games. He suffered a back injury in a U.S. Open Cup match in June shortly after returning from international duty and didn’t return to action until late July. He scored two goals in four games as rumors of a transfer began to swirl and didn’t play the last two games. Last spring Hull City finished 18th in the Premier League and was relegated to the League Championship.
“Although my time at the club was brief,” said Maloney, “I feel very fortunate for the experience to play for the Chicago Fire and would like to thank in particular my teammates for the time I spent with them and hope that in the future the club can become successful on the pitch once again.”
His departure opens up a DP slot for the Fire, which earlier this month used Targeted Allocation Money to buy down the DP contract of Kennedy Iboananike so it could add former Toronto FC forward Gilberto, who was claimed off waivers after returning from a loan with Vasco da Gama in his native Brazil.
Igbaonanike scored two goals Wednesday in a 3-2 defeat of the Red Bulls that keeps the Fire’s faint playoff hopes flickering. Its other DP, David Accam, will leave the team after a league match Saturday at Orlando City SC. Accam has been called up to the Ghanaian national team for a friendly against Congo and an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Rwanda next week. Chicago plays in Montreal Sept. 5, a day after Ghana plays Rwanda.