Hibs confirm Chris Mueller exit with winger set for MLS return with Chicago Fire

Hibs have confirmed the departure of Chris Mueller, who is returning to Major League Soccer with hometown club Chicago Fire.

The 25-year-old signed a pre-contract with the Easter Road side last summer during the final months of his spell with Orlando City. He joined up with Hibs in January 2022 and scored once in 15 appearances, in the 3-1 Scottish Cup fifth-round victory over Arbroath.

But the winger struggled to settle in Scotland and adapt to the Scottish game, and the chance to return to his homeland was an opportunity he was keen to explore.

Hibs chief executive Ben Kensell said: “Unfortunately this move didn’t work out the way the club or Chris wanted.

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“Chris has worked extremely hard in training since he arrived but has found it difficult to adapt to the pace and physicality of the Scottish Premiership, which has severely limited his game time.

“Ultimately, he wants to play football regularly and when the opportunity came about for him to play for his hometown side, it was something he didn’t want to turn down and we were happy to work with all parties to make this happen.

“For us, it was vital that this deal made complete sense for the club and alongside this, it has also freed up a significant amount financially that the incoming manager will be able to use to mould the squad in their way.

“We thank Chris for all his efforts during his time with us and wish him all the best at Chicago Fire.”

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Chris Mueller in action for Hibs against Celtic

Mueller met manager Jack Ross just days before he was relieved of his duties as Hibs boss, and made his debut under new manager Shaun Maloney in the Scottish Cup fourth round against Cove Rangers.

The player’s salary became a hot topic among Hibs fans, with rumours he was earning as much as £10,000 per week but the Evening News understands that, while the Illinois native was indeed earning a hefty weekly wage, it was nowhere near the quoted figure.

His departure will, however, free up significant funds for the new Easter Road boss to spend on his squad come the summer.