Bastian Schweinsteiger has ended his lifelong association with German champions Bayern Munich after agreeing a deal to sign for Manchester United.
Captain of the German national team, Schweinsteiger joins on a three year deal, after the two clubs agreed on a fee of around £14.7m.
Schweinsteiger, who will become the first German to play for United’s first team, will add much needed experience to the United squad, with the team lacking leaders at present, with the departures of Darren Fletcher, Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and the retirement of Ryan Giggs in the past 12 months hindering the wealth of trophy-winning know-how within the dressing room.
With only Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick remaining from United’s 2008 Champions League final triumph in Moscow, the winning mentality of ‘Basti’ will benefit the current crop of players that Louis van Gaal has at his disposal, with Giggs stating in a recent interview that the club will look to strengthen the spine of the side with prestigious names, and the Bavarian certainly fits into that category.
At the back end of last season, the manager stated he would look into buying a ‘no.6’ to protect Carrick after his injury problems and him turning 34 this month, and with European football returning to Old Trafford, squad rotation will also be necessary.
It was Van Gaal himself who converted Schweinsteiger into a holding midfielder from the wing during his spell in charge of Bayern, and their relationship with one another was a big factor in swaying the fifth most capped German international to leave his boyhood club.
Bayern’s CEO Karl-Heinz Ruminegge labelled the sale of the soon to be 31-year-old “regrettable” as they still hold him in should high regard at the club; but injury issues, the arrival of Pep Guardiola as boss and Xabi Alonso, Javi Martinez and Thiago bought to bolster their midfield, Schweinsteiger’s game time has dipped considerably over the last 24 months.
However, Schweinsteiger has still managed to start at least 20 Bundesliga games for Bayern in each of the last 10 seasons.
With one year remaining on his contract and the European Championships approaching next year, the Bayern fan favourite took this as an ideal opportunity to start a new chapter in his career, with this challenge a welcome one to his United-fan brother, and he leaves Bayern on good terms nonetheless.
With over 100 caps to his name and having won 23 major honours, Schweinsteiger’s arrival will be hugely popular amongst supporters and we wish him well during his stay in Manchester.