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Schweinsteiger at Manchester United: A Brave Step?

For Bastian Schweinsteiger, seasons will undoubtedly have become somewhat routine; ever since 1998, the midfielder has been accustomed to the ways of Bayern Munich. This August, the typical Bundesliga ritual Schweinsteiger faces yearly has been shaken up; the German International possesses something of a Herculean presence as part of any team he plays for, but, this season, he will be reuniting with Louis van Gaal to don a Manchester United jersey. However, although this fresh, exciting transfer has been confirmed, will this remain an informed, clever decision by this time next summer?

Schweinsteiger at Manchester United: A Brave Step?

Last season, we witnessed Louis van Gaal fold slightly under the initial pressure the Premier League posed. Not only is it a feisty, competitive league to be entrenched in, but managing such Gargantuan a side as United is something of a tall order. We saw the injury-plagued Radamel Falcao perform nonthreateningly, and most certainly unconvincingly; this was, granted, more due to medical reasons, but I would safely question how well he gelled with the remainder of the team anyway. A similar situation arose with Angel Di María; the Argentinian midfielder has been placed prior in both attacking midfield and as a winger, but his role with United last season was lacklustre.

The main issue behind these players’ failures was potentially the old scandal of a ‘big money purchase’. The aim there is to scramble as many major names in the industry as possible, then spend the resulting time tightly crossing fingers (maybe even toes, too) that they will mesh nicely and adequately with the other members of the squad, in order to fashion structure and order. Goals, theoretically, should materialise with great ease, then. By the end of the season, managers will then be glad that their sudden frittering of cash paid off – literally.

In a midfielder’s position, it really is paramount that a player gets on board with the new club’s ethos, and plays consistently, in order to justify the big bucks shelled out in their name. Indeed, Bastian Schweinsteiger will be as inexperienced for United as ex-Southampton star, Morgan Schneiderlin, but Schweinsteiger enjoyed a much longer, richer history with Bayern than Schneiderlin put in with Saints.

The Frenchman spent seven years at St. Mary’s, but Bastian Schweinsteiger had been on the Bayern manifest in some way since 1998. In 2001, Schweini’s senior career kicked off, progressing from Bayern’s youth to unadulterated Bayern. His tutoring and nurturing at the club began to pay dividends; the man was flourishing. So, it’s no wonder that it’s only now that he has decided to leave. Both putting in shifts for the reserves and the fiery, magnificent and downright crucial starting eleven of the main team, Schweinsteiger endured victories and losses. Well, more victories than anything else, of course.

I think it’s perhaps the fact that Schweinsteiger was instrumental in so many of Bayern’s incredible wins – both at home at the Allianz, and away – that makes me wish to query his choice to leave to pastures new. They say there isn’t any point attempting to fix something that isn’t broken; why leave Germany? Well, I suppose the answer might include something along the lines of lack of challenge. After all, to be an integral part of an outstanding, world renowned club is surely an honour, but one that might wear ever so thin if there isn’t much to truly strive for. Triumphs come easily for Bayern Munich, whilst Manchester United are only just enthralled again in the very real possibility that they could climb the ranks fully.

Age is another factor, no doubt; Schweinsteiger is 31 years of age, and certainly a veteran for his national team, Die Mannschaft. Philipp Lahm resigned as Germany’s captain following their World Cup victory last year, and colleagues such as Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose are also of the age to start hanging up the boots indefinitely, for both country and club. Thus, playing for a different team might seem a worthwhile idea as time dwindles. Further still, his absence would leave room for younger blood to nestle into the Bayern outfit.

So, as much as I can reconcile with myself that Bastian Schweinsteiger, one of my favourite players – both for Germany and Bayern Munich – has left one of the most inspirational, dogged and staggeringly awesome leagues to come to England, I can understand what his motives might have been. It also means, vacuously, that I can reap the point-gaining benefits of his existence in Fantasy Football.

Whether Schweinsteiger will be unnecessary or under utilised at Manchester United remains to be seen, though. Some of the recent players who turned out to be total flops under Van Gaal were riddled with injuries (for example, Falcao); Pep Guardiola has come forward to state that Schweinsteiger’s fitness has let him down in prior seasons, but that doesn’t equate to him being a bad fit at United. Furthermore, he has been managed by Louis van Gaal before, so the United boss can manipulate the midfielder to bring out his strengths.

Indeed, it was something of a shock to hear that Bastian Schweinsteiger had penned a contract with Manchester United, but it could be a rather grand choice, eventually.


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