Xherdan Shaqiri and Douglas Costa are joining Lorenzo Insigne on the list of top players signed by MLS Clubs since the start of the year.

Xherdan Shaqiri is the biggest move Fire has made since signing Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2017. (Image: Twitter/chicagofire)

Insigne will be joining Toronto from Napoli on a contract starting 1 Jul., while Shaqiri and Costa’s moves are effective immediately, meaning they will be able to play for Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy respectively at the start of the season.

Fire agreed to a club-record $7.5 million transfer fee with Lyon for Shaqiri, who is the captain of Switzerland. The 30-year old is by no means a player looking for a quiet few years before retirement. Instead, Shaqiri, a former Inter Milan, Bayern Munich or Liverpool player, is as hungry as ever and comes to inspire Fire with a winning mentality.

Shaqiri is a 2021 Premier League champion and a 2020 Champions League winner with Liverpool, also having titles in Germany and Switzerland. Shaqiri’s move to Chicago was facilitated by his relationship with sporting director Georg Heinz. The pair previously worked together at Basel.

Shaqiri is expected to feature for Fire on 26 Feb., when they take on Inter Miami in the debut round of the new MLS campaign.

Douglas Costa, the third DP at Galaxy

Now 31, Costa comes from playing for the likes of Bayern and Juventus. He is the third DP on Galaxy’s roster, alongside Chicharito and Kevin Cabral. The three are expected to all start upfront in Greg Vanney’s 4-3-3 system. Costa will arrive on loan from Juventus for six months, then will continue in LA for a further year and a half.

He won 31 caps for Brazil, scoring three goals. In May 2021, Juventus loaned him to boyhood club Gremio, with Costa playing 25 games and scoring twice. The attacker is a three-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern and a three-time Serie A winner at Juventus. Costa will instantly become available for selection, meaning he could make his debut in the Galaxy shirt on 28 Feb., when MLS Cup winners New York City FC come visiting.

At +1600, LA Galaxy is sixth-favorite to win the MLS Cup this year, behind LAFC, New England Revs, Seattle (all at +700), NYCFC (at +1000) and Sporting KC (at +1200). Chicago Fire is only 18th on the bookies’ list of pre-competition favorites at +5000.