Manchester United fans who had hoped Bastian Schweinsteiger's reintroduction into the first team setup a few weeks ago was a signal that Jose Mourinho was on the verge of a dramatic U-turn are about to be disappointed.
One of the Portuguese manager's first big decisions at Old Trafford was to extradite the experienced midfielder from the squad.
A lack of suitors meant Schweinsteiger was forced to stay at Old Trafford beyond the most recent summer transfer window and until recently, has spent most of his time training away from the rest of the senior team.
But images emerging in the last 24 hours show Schweinsteiger leaving a meeting that could provide a big hint on where he might end up next.
The 32-year-old, having retired from international duty earlier this year, was pictured by the Daily Express with head coach of MLS side Chicago Fire, Veljko Paunovic.
The British paper initially reported the person who left shortly before Schweinsteiger as an 'unidentified companion' but Goal have confirmed Paunovic is the man in question.
Fire have been linked with a move for the Man United player in the past, however, these discussions - which were four hours long over lunch - suggest a deal might not be that far away.
The addition of Schweinsteiger would be a huge boost to Paunovic as Chicago recently finished bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference.
The German has previously stated that United would be the last European club he plays for so a move to America or China looks the most likely outcome from this protracted saga.
Schweinsteiger has received plenty of support from various players back in his home country and one has even invited the midfielder to join Stuttgart.
Kevin Grosskreutz, who played alongside Schweinsteiger for Germany, has sympathy for his old teammate and says he is welcome to join him at the 2. Bundesliga side.
"He is in a difficult situation. But he deals with it well," Grosskreutz told Bild.
"He's invited to join VfB this winter. We'd all be happy."
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