As the transfer rumors continue to swirl, the latest name being whispered around the red half of Manchester is that of German national team captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Schweinsteiger, 30, is said to be on the radar of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal and the Red Devils could be preparing a swoop for the Bayern Munich midfielder this summer.
[ RELATED: Ramos to United? ]
With just one-year left on his deal at Bayern, it is believed that Schweinsteiger could be picked up for relatively cheap — a ballpark figure of $15-20 million has been mooted — and his experience in the engine room could prove hugely beneficial to United. Yes, he is soon to be 31, but with LVG’s short-term project to return United to glory, acquiring Schweinsteiger’s considerable experience would be massively beneficial on many levels.
Last season United struggled to find a consistent starter in the engine room with new signings Ander Herrera and Daley Blind having varying degrees of success at shielding the back four. However, when veteran midfielder Michael Carrick was fit then he used all of his nous and superb positional sense to provide a wall in front of United’s defense. Carrick’s ability to keep the ball and start attacks with a pin-point long-range were also crucial but due to injury he played just 22 times for the Red Devils. At the age of 33, he probably has one or two more seasons left in the tank.
As for Schweinsteiger, he is 30 and could carry on for another five years as he’s adapted his game to become a destroyer in the engine room who can use the ball well and help spring attacks. When he burst onto the scene as a teenager he often played out wide or just behind the striker but under van Gaal at Bayern in 2009-10 he excelled in a deeper role and has played there ever since. He is superb at shuffling across the pitch and not only winning the ball, but using it well when he gets it. You have to think that a player of Schweinsteiger’s intelligence would relish the chance to link up with Wayne Rooney and if he sat in the center of the pitch he would help link everything together seamlessly.
United saw that first hand in 2014 when Schweinsteiger scored against them at Old Trafford in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and put in a dominant display in the center of midfield but also saw red for a challenge on Rooney. He has that desire to succeed which sometimes spills over but van Gaal needs a general in midfield and Schweinsteiger fits the bill perfectly.
[ RELATED: Pirlo in talks with NYCFC ]
Schweinsteiger has been at Bayern his entire career but after 13 years in the first team and eight Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Champions League crown in 2013, perhaps now is the time for the German national team captain to move on and test himself overseas. There is a chance that Schweinsteiger is generating interest from United purely to boost what will likely be his final contract as a pro with Bayern, but there seems to be genuine interest from both parties. With Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez and Xabi Alonso around for Bayern in the central midfield area, the German giants could actually afford to lose Schweinsteiger and not be impacted too much.
That said, Schweinsteiger would have an incredible impact on United’s side as the German has the physicality to prosper in the Premier League but also a sublime footballing brain to help lock down United’s midfield and allow the mercurial talents of Angel di Maria, Juan Mata, Ashley Young and Memphis Depay to support Rooney in attack.
If United can seal a deal for Schweinsteiger, plus add a top class center back and either keep David de Gea or replace him adequately, they may just find the final piece of the jigsaw they need to challenge for the Premier League title and be a force in the UEFA Champions League once again.