The Chicago Fire midfielder isn't convinced that a concrete offer to return to Parkhead would have materalised and remains more than pleased with his decision to head to MLS.
While new Chicago Fire midfielder Shaun Maloney was flattered to hear of Celtic manager Ronny Deila’s interest in him during the winter transfer window, the Scotland international has told the Daily Mail that he believes he made the right decision in moving to MLS.
Maloney, 32, opted to leave Wigan Athletic for the Fire ahead of the 2015 MLS season, despite having the chance to return to the Premier League with Leicester, as well as the option to see out the remaining six months of his contract at the DW Stadium.
In addition, Celtic boss Deila also expressed his interest in bringing the former Celtic product back to Parkhead, telling the Daily Record: “I am aware of all the Scottish players. Maloney is a good player and he is one we know about. He is at Wigan at the moment but we will wait and see.
“I have seen him many times. He is a quick, creative player and he is a very good person with a great mentality.
“He looks like a Celtic player.”
Nevertheless, Maloney isn’t sure whether Deila would have followed up his interest with a concrete bid and insists he’s pleased to have made the move across the Atlantic to start a new chapter in his career.
“I think the quotes by the Celtic manager were just him being very polite about me as a player,” he said. ‘I was a previous Celtic player. I didn’t think there was too much else in it.
“There were options to stay in England, but I spoke to the manager and the owner in Chicago and I think my mind was pretty much made up in January.
“You have to respect any club that offers you a contract in England or Scotland but I really wanted to try this,” he continued. “‘I have always thought about playing in this league.
“I think the timing just worked. It’s a completely different lifestyle, everything is new. The stadiums, the clubs I am playing against, everything. It’ s all very exciting.”
In moving to MLS, there was some initial concern that Maloney was putting his Scotland career at risk but the 37-times capped attacker stresses that he received manager Gordon Strachan’s backing ahead of his switch and, despite the travel, is in the squad for the coming games against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.
“I asked him if it would have any detrimental effect on my international career [moving to the States] and he said, ‘No’. That was all I needed to know,” he added.
“I absolutely love playing for my country. It makes me very, very proud and it’s an honour to do it and I will try my hardest to continue to make the squad no matter what league I am in.
“I will always make myself available for Scotland so we will cross the friendlies bridge as we come to it.”
After finishing in a disappointing eighth-place in the Eastern Conference in 2014, Maloney’s addition has so far failed to spark a turnaround for the Fire, with the club losing their first three games of the new campaign.
The ex-Aston Villa man is confident that results will soon improve, though, adding: “We had a disappointing year as a club last season and the play-offs are our ambition this year. I don’t think it’s beyond us.”