Hibs hope to accelerate Chris Mueller arrival after agreeing pre-contract deal as Ian Gordon link pays off
A pre-contract deal has been agreed that would see the 24-year-old join Jack Ross’ squad for free in December, but it is understood that the Leith side have been trying to keep the move quiet as they work behind the scenes to agree a fee that would allow them to accelerate that switch.
Rated highly by the Easter Road club, the two-times capped US forward’s current contract is due to expire at the end of the current MLS season and his club, Orlando City, have confirmed that he will be moving on.
In a statement they said: “Earlier, Mueller informed the club that he has signed a pre-contract to join a European team. The pre-contract was signed in line with all FIFA regulations.
“Mueller’s contract with Orlando City is valid through the end of the 2021 MLS season and will continue as a member of the Lions’ roster.”
But Hibs, led by owner Ron Gordon’s son Ian, have been working to secure his immediate release as the club looks to make an impact in Europe and domestically, seeking to improve on a strong showing last season.
Along with a centre-half, another forward has been high on the club’s shopping list. With Scotland international and last season’s top scorer Kevin Nisbet continuing to attract interest from a number of clubs, manager Ross had made it a priority to strengthen that department of his squad.
Mueller, who joined Orlando in 2018, and was runner up for MLS Rookie of the Year that season has made 96 appearances and scored 20 goals but, an exciting and technically-gifted player, he has earned a reputation for manufacturing goals and providing a constant attacking edge.
An eye-catching player he was rewarded with his first USA caps last year and made the most of the opportunity, with two goals and an assist as he was named man of the match in a 6-0 rout of El Salvador.
This term he has made 13 appearances for Orlando, weighing in with two goals, three assists and can claim involvement in almost a third of all goals scored by the club so far in the season.
He can operate in a wider position on the right or up front.