Manchester United have signed a player. Not just any player, but a player of real pedigree who has won the lot. Not even Edward Woodward impersonating Basil Fawlty in the directors lounge could send this one south. Bastian Schweinsteiger will be a Manchester United player come the start of the Premier League season following the news that Bayern Munich had accepted a bid, believed to be around £15million, for the player who is now on his way to Manchester for a medical. 536 appearances for Bayern, eight Bundesliga titles, seven German cups, a European Cup win and of course that World Cup final victory over Lionel Messi’s Argentina last June.
United have signed a player, who although is entering the final stage of his career as he turns 31 next month, who will bring experience and class to a side desperate for leadership. With the pursuit of Sergio Ramos still on the cards – it is clear that Louis van Gaal wants to fill his new look United side with leaders.
Many rival fans will point to his age and state, as Jamie Carragher suggested to over Twitter, that the German is past his best – but at the ripe old age of 30 and for a fee of what is believed to be £14million, United have a class act of a midfielder who has a good four seasons ahead of him. Many United fans still believe there is a void in the midfield left by Roy Keane when he departed the club in 2005 and although United brought in the excellent Michael Carrick (in 2006) combined with the eternal class of Paul Scholes, the club have failed to compete for midfield talent with rival clubs.
Louis van Gaal looks to leadership and strong spine
Yes, Schweinsteiger is 31 next month and his best years have been with Bayern Munich – but with United back in the Champions League next season and looking to close the gap on Chelsea, the German world cup winner is an exceptional signing. The 5th most capped German player of all time will bring leadership and experience to the club, which has been a big void since the departure of Nemanja Vidic, who surely left the club too early due to the managerial regime of David Moyes.
The pursuit of Sergio Ramos may well be a ploy to up to the quite absurd £15million bid for David De Gea from Real Madrid, but both players are warriors for club and country. Combining this experience and leadership, with the youth of Memphis Depay, Luke Shaw and Adnan Januzaj – van Gaal is building a team worthy of winning titles. The future of De Gea will be determined pretty soon, following the move of Iker Casillas to FC Porto, but in Victor Valdes, United have a top quality keeper who brings experience to what is right now an inexperienced back line.
Schweinsteiger may have fallen out of favour, following his injury post World Cup and failing to dislodge Xabi Alonso from Bayern’s midfield, with Pep Guardiola but that has only helped United in acquiring their new signing. The German has had his fair share of ankle and knee injuries, but anything serious will come out in the medical assessment – as Ruud vanNistelrooy found out in the summer of 2000, when he failed his first medical with the club, a week before breaking down with a ruptured cruciate ligament. He didn’t do too bad for the club when he signed the following season and was rarely injured (only significant one in 2005).
The old boys can still do it
Amazing to think in this day and age of pace, power and versatility that at 31 – which Schweinsteiger will be once the Premier League kicks off, the German is part of the old guard. United fans know how good players can become with age – Ryan Giggs continued to defy logic playing past his 40th birthday, Bryan Robson – despite countless injuries – played for the club until he was 36 and Edwin Van der Saar probably wouldn’t look out of place today, despite retiring – aged 40 – in 2011. However, One big name springs to mind regarding a big transfer fee for an over thirty something.
Gabriel Batistuta signed for a mammoth £23.5million in 2000 for Roma from Fiorentina. The Argentine may have had his statue ripped down by the La Viola fans, but his twenty goals in 28 games helped the Roman club clinch their first title since 1983. £23.5 million for a 32 year old might seem barmy, but a Championship winning performance ensures the pursestrings are soon forgotten.
The brilliant Swede, who has also been linked to a move to United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic also moved well into his thirtieth year from AC Milan to PSG and has steer-headed a Parisian revival – with a little Qatar help. Andrea Pirlo helped roll back the years with Juventus following his move from AC Milan in 2011. His fee may have been a lot less (free!) than Schweinsteiger, but the point remains – the you invest in class.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is a top class midfielder who will is welcomed with open arms at Old Trafford by the United faithful. Manchester United now boasts a World Cup winner who will bring exceptional leadership skills to bolstered an improving team. A great signing and the season can not come soon enough for United fans.