We had heard the rumors during the past couple of weeks. But on Saturday, Manchester United confirmed that they have signed Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich. Schweinsteiger spent 13 years in the first team at Bayern and at age 30, he’s moving on and bringing his playmaking skills to England.
Schweinsteiger is one of the most decorated players that are active today, with eight German Bundesliga titles, one Champions League title and one World Cup title. He has 111 caps for the German national team and has featured in three European Championships and three World Cup tournaments for Germany. He was appointed captain of the German national side prior to the start of the Euro 2016 qualifications.
So it a very experienced player that will arrive at Old Trafford. Schweinsteiger played under current United manager Louis van Gaal between 2009-2011, and it’s not farfetched to imagine that Bastian was one of the players that van Gaal wanted to bring in since they had such a good working relationship at Bayern.
Schweinsteiger will be an integral part of United’s midfield going forward. He has great playmaking abilities and will be a great upgrade to Michael Carrick who is getting up there in age and starting to fall apart with injuries. He has some of the same qualities as an Andrea Pirlo, Xavi, or Steven Gerrard. He’s great on the ball, has a excellent passing game with a very good first touch. He’s hard to get off the ball and although he’s not a speed demon, he can get forward and dribble past a couple of defenders.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 11, 2015
Schweinsteiger is also very good at corners and freekicks. He will be thrown straight into the starting 11 and I’m sure that van Gaal is pleased to have him join now in the middle of the transfer window instead of late. This way Bastian can join his new team as they head to the United States for a pre-season tournament that includes games against Club America, San Jose Earthquakes, Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain.
Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke to the media on Saturday and confirmed the deal.
“Bastian wants to do something new at the end of his career. He asked that we meet his wishes. My colleagues at Manchester United have been in touch. We have reached an agreement over a transfer,” Rummenigge said. ”It’s regrettable because Bastian meant a great deal to the club. He achieved great things. We say goodbye on great terms. I can only wish Bastian all the best. It will be an interesting new challenge for him. I am convinced that he will play well there.”
Schweinsteiger will be a core piece in van Gaal’s formation of the team next year. In addition to Schweinsteiger, United has signed attacking-winger Memphis Depay and are just a medical away from making a deal for right-back Matteo Darmian.
The team has lost some firepower as Falcao leaves after a disappointing loan spell. Robin van Persie looks to be on his way out as well, as Fenerbahce is reportedly close to signing the Dutch striker. Javier Hernandez is also on his way out after spending last season on loan at Real Madrid. So a lot of attacking options will most likely not be there next season, but they still have Wayne Rooney and with wingers like Depay and Angel Di Maria, Schweinsteiger will have some excellent players to pick out with his passes.
Schweinsteiger has the ability to dictate the pace of the game. He can hold up the ball and slow things down, or he can hit a 50-yard cross ball that lands at the wingers feet for a fast attack. He’s strong enough, and has enough experience of playing in the Bundesliga and Champions League that the transition to the Premier League shouldn’t take too long.
Schweinsteiger reminds me of Manchester United legend Paul Scholes. Both of them are central midfielders that can take over a game single handedly. Both of them are excellent passers and great on set pieces. Although Bastian will not be at United long enough to achieve legend status, he’s already a legend at Bayern Munich and for the German national team.
Rummenigge said that Schweinsteiger was looking for a new challenge, and going to Old Trafford to play for Manchester United is one of the biggest challenges in soccer. Many players have not been able to live with the pressure that comes with playing for United, but Schweinsteiger is used to that from his time at Bayern, so I don’t think that it will be a shock for him when he gets to Manchester.
So, what are the odds now that we’ll see some United fans sporting lederhosen next season?