Update (7/22/21, 9:35 a.m.): The destination is now official.
USA international Chris Mueller has signed a pre-contract to join Hibs in January ⚪️— Hibernian Football Club (@HibernianFC) July 22, 2021
Looking forward to welcoming you to Easter Road, @CMueller1662!
A statement from Orlando City confirmed that Chris Mueller will leave the club following the 2021 season after signing a pre-contract agreement with an unnamed European club. Mueller’s contract was set to expire at the end of the year and Orlando City stated it was in negotiations with the American winger.
Last week, The Athletic reported that Mueller was targeted by several Belgian clubs, including giants RSC Anderlecht, but the Washington Post’s Steven Goff reports that Scotland is the likely landing point.
Orlando City's Chris Mueller, whose MLS deal expires this winter, has signed a pre-contract to join a European team after this season, multiple sources say. He and Orlando were in negotiations but did not reach a deal. Expecting him to land in Scotland on a free transfer.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) July 21, 2021
Mueller has been a fan favorite in Orlando since being drafted sixth overall in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. The Money Badger is among the most accomplished players in Orlando’s MLS history, scoring 21 goals and providing 18 assists in 108 appearances across all competitions.
What This Means for Orlando City
It’s unfortunate that a deal couldn’t be reached and that Mueller will leave the club on a free transfer. Orlando City has addressed winger depth in the past few seasons, with both Alexander Alvarado and Silvester van der Water arriving in recent transfer windows. The Lions also have Homegrown Players Benji Michel and Jordan Bender, with the latter currently on loan with the Charlotte Independence in the USL Championship.
Aside from the disappointment in seeing a fan favorite leave without Orlando receiving anything for it, it’s an exciting possibility for Mueller. If there was ever a chance for him to try his hand in Europe, it was now, and he’s taking that leap. Let’s all enjoy Mueller’s last few months in purple as the club hopes to make a deep run in the postseason.