TOP
Thursday,August 22,2019 18:20 PM

My big step: Mike Azira

By Fred Kaweesi

Added 9th August 2019 05:19 PM

Besides earning him higher wages, Azira’s switch from Montreal Impact sets him up for a high-profile battle against former Germany and Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger for a first-team place in the Chicago Fire midfield.

Mikeazira 703x422

Mike Azira

Besides earning him higher wages, Azira’s switch from Montreal Impact sets him up for a high-profile battle against former Germany and Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger for a first-team place in the Chicago Fire midfield.

Major transfers

Mike Azira (Chicago Fire)

Other moves

Shaban Muhammad (Vipers)

Tadeo Lwanga (Tanta Sports)

Emma Okwi (Al Ittihad)

Khalid Aucho (El-Makkasa)

Abdu Lumala (Pyramids)

Mike Azira has completed a glamour move to Major Soccer League side Chicago Fire – a transfer that should be interesting for two reasons.

Besides earning him higher wages, Azira’s switch from Montreal Impact sets him up for a high-profile battle against former Germany and Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger for a first-team place in the Chicago Fire midfield.

The alternative would be playing both as seating midfielders considering that Chicago predominantly operate in a 4-3- 3 formation, with Schweinsteiger playing in front of the back four, alongside Dax McCarty, with Michael de Leeuw, further upfield. How the Ugandan international fits in is a matter for another day.

For now, Chicago Fire are celebrating good business that included trading defender Jorge Corrales to Impact.

“While it is difficult to part with Jorge, who has defended the Club’s honor with all his might, acquiring Micheal (Azira) provides us with more balance and options as we make our push for the playoffs,” said Chicago Fire Soccer Club President and General Manager Nelson Rodriguez.

Azira had a decent outing with the Cranes during the 2019 Nations Cup finals in Egypt.

The 31-year-old has gathered valuable experience in the MLS over the years, where he has registered 120 league appearances (97 starts) with Seattle Sounders FC, Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact in a span of six seasons. He has also made eight appearances in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Azira holds a U.S. Green Card and will not occupy an international spot on the Fire’s roster.

His contract with Chicago Fire will run through the 2019 season with an option for the 2020 season. In a recent interview with New Vision, Azira hinted on why he had managed to hit the heights in the MLS.

 
“The main reason I think I have been successful in the major league soccer is discipline, working hard and smart and having the willingness to learn other players and coaches.”

Interestingly, Azira might make his first appearance for Chicago Fire against his former employers Montreal Impact, on Saturday. But that again will depend on whether Chicago
 
Fire choose to start him ahead of Schweinsteiger, play both in a conventional midfield or draft Schweinsteiger into defence.

During his time with Chicago, Schweinsteiger has occasionally been deployed as a central defender or sweeper in a three-man back-line.

How Azira compares with Schweinsteiger

Schweinsteiger:

He was an integral player of the Germany team that ended an 18-year wait for a major trophy by lifting the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Besides earning 121 appearances for the country, Schweinsteiger spent 13 seasons at the Allianz Arena, playing 500 matches and winning eight

Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Champions League.
He largely operates in the centre, but he is versatile enough to provide an option on the wings. He is also a superb reader of the game and has often scored for Chicago Fire due to his good positioning.

Azira

He was part of Cranes at the 2017 and 2019 Nations Cup finals. Azira primarily plays as a central midfielder. He can sit deep in front of the back four and dictate the tempo from there. He can, however, also operate as an attacking midfielder. He has excellent dribbling and passing abilities.

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles