United have confirmed the signing of Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich.
There have been unconfirmed rumours of United’s interest in the player for some time now but these gathered momentum on the evening of Friday 10th July when a number of German media outlets reported that United had reached an agreement with Bayern. Then on Saturday at the Bayern Munich pre-season press and photo session Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed this was so. All that remained was for the club to agree terms with the player and for the player to pass a medical. United have now confirmed they have done, the player has passed his medical and has signed for the club.
Schweinsteiger is 30 years of age and prior to joining United was a one club man having risen through the youth ranks at Bayern. He broke into their first team in 2002-03 season and since then he has won 22 club honours including 8 Bundesliga titles and the Champions League. He has won 111 German caps appearing at the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups. At the 2014 tournament Schweinsteiger was one of Germany’s stand-out performers as they became World Champions. He is the current captain of the Germany.
Schweinsteiger is a right-footed player and since it has become clear that the player was Old Trafford bound speculation about where he will fit into the side has been unrelenting. Much of this ignores the fact that United, like all clubs who wish to challenge for trophies need more than a top class XI, instead they need a top class squad which gives the manager flexibility and options as well as the resource to satisfy demands of a fixture list including European fixtures.
It has been suggested that Schweinsteiger is too similar in type to Morgan Schneiderlin but after a season where performances and results suffered whenever Michael Carrick was injured it is clear that United need midfield options in the deep. Schweinsteiger has in fact been played further forward of late, seemingly because Pep Guardiola did not trust him in deep areas. The issue is that Guardiola prefers to play with a single pivot and this doesn’t suit Schweinsteiger’s game. Will the acquisition of two new deep midfield players see Van Gaal switch to a double pivot with a classic No. 10 or will Van Gaal continue with the experiment of playing Schweinstieger further forward? There are certainly options.
Earlier in his career Schweinsteiger played in a wide position and following a period when Joachim Low, his national manager played him in central midfield, Van Gaal when manager of Bayern from 2009-11 moved the player to a more central position on a permanent basis. This is important because it means that the manager knows what he will get from the player and how best to use him.
Schweinsteiger is a world class midfield player who reads the game well; he has a strong shot and a good motor. A dynamic player, he tackles well and produces a significant number of key passes from the deep. Joachim Low, his Germany manager has described him as “the brain” of the national team, (and let us not forget they are current World Champions). His performance in the final last year was outstanding and seen as the key factor in subduing Lionel Messi. Critically Schweinsteiger sets the tempo of a game; great news as United struggled with tempo for much of last season. He doesn’t pass long, but he will circulate the ball quickly. He is also a leader on the pitch and there have been few of those at United recently as an older generation of players have retired or moved on.
So what’s not to like?
Bastian Schweinsteiger, welcome to Old Trafford.