By: Steven Paget
In transfer fee alone, it is not a deal to send hearts fluttering and pulses racing, but in prestige it must be considered right up there amongst the most glittering the Premier League has known. After all, it’s not every day a club captures the signature of the reigning World Cup winning skipper, let alone one solitary year after the triumph.
Like Ryan Giggs, but with a World Cup
Having been at Bayern since he was 12 years old, it’s no surprise that Bastian’s medal collection is larger than the average footballer. 8 Budesligas, 7 DFB-Pokal titles (German Cups) and a Chamipions League winner’s medal is pretty tasty stuff. Throw in a World Cup winner’s medal, as captain, one year ago, and you have a bona fide superstar on your hands (or in your dressing room!). That’s like buying Ryan Giggs…if he was Brazilian…back when Brazil were good.
But isn’t he broken?
So how has it come to pass that the perennial German champions have decided to cash-in on their national treasure and longest-serving star – surely it’s got to be some kind of mistake right? Well, start unearthing the statistics behind Schweinsteiger’s last couple of years at the Allianz Arena, and certain conclusions can be reached. The first of which being that the 30-year-old’s body has failed to consistently live-up to the vigours of a top-flight season for quite some time now. In fact, he has only played 59% of matches in Pep Guardiola’s two-year reign, mostly due to the persistent knee and ankle problems that have plagued him. One thing that is for certain is that United’s coaching team will have to keep the playmaker wrapped in cotton wool, and with no winter break in the Premier League, the rigours of a full English season may well be too much.
Where will he fit into United’s team?
On the face of, fitting a player of Schweinsteiger’s ability and experience into a team that limped to 4th last season despite not having the distraction of Champions League football seems like a moot point, but on closer inspection, United are already well-equipped with Michael Carrick, arguably United’s most influential player in the middle of the park, so it will be interesting to see the formation United manager Luis Van Gaal selects to accommodate both of the deep-lying playmakers, as well as the increasingly effective Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini. With question marks over the form of Angel Di Maria and the likely departure of Robin Van Persie to Fenerbahce, as well as their decision to not make Radamel Falcao’s loan move from Monaco permanent, United’s starting line-up in their opening Premier League fixtures will be of great interest.
Is anything for certain?
In the modern world of celebrity football, a signing of the magnitude of Schweinsteigers’, especially for a fee reported to be £14.4 million (despite the £7.2 million annual wage!), is nothing short of a coup for the hierarchy at Old Trafford. Supporters will be over-the-moon with news of the capture of the 111-cap superstar, and tears of mourning are also sure to be shed at the Allianz. The words of Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge aptly describe the feeling behind the legend’s departure, describing the move as ‘regrettable because Bastian meant a great deal to the club.’Considering it was Bayern’s decision to sell, these words may be dismissed instantly by the legions of fans in Germany who will surely take an active interest in his new career in Manchester.