Manchester United fans have gotten used to the club signing big players that went on to underwhelm. Whether it’s Juan Sebastian Veron, Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay or Dimitar Berbatov, United’s history is littered with big signings that promised much but didn’t quite deliver. Only in the case of Berbatov could you say that any of the players mentioned came close to delivering consistently and the Bulgarian is arguably one of the most divisive players in the club’s recent history.
In the case of Bastian Schweinsteiger, when United purchased the then-captain of the German national team from Bayern Munich, the suggestion was clear that he was passed his best. Still, expectation was that his experience, leadership skills and all-round quality would all be great assets to Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side. There were certainly moments where his presence was appreciated during his first season with the club; his headed goal against Leicester City was a fine moment, and the shot that led to a last-minute winning own goal at Watford was rapturously celebrated by the entire team. Fans of the club also took to him immediately, adopting the famous “Deutscher Fußballmeister” chant for the former Bayern captain immediately.
Of course, things have turned out quite differently than the £200,000 a week world cup winner and United would have liked. He looked less-than fit on many occasions last season, and picked up several injuries that severely hampered his involvement last season, meaning that he last turned out for the club in last March’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. Since then, after reports of preferential treatment apparently divided United’s players, he has been exiled to the club’s youth side, and has only recently returned to training with Jose Mourinho’s first team squad.
It still looks incredibly unlikely that the German will return to United’s starting XI, meaning rumours of a January departure when the winter transfer window opens at the start of 2017 are swirling. Having confirmed that United would be his last club in Europe, it appears as though the United States is a potential destination. ESPN are reporting that MLS side Chicago Fire are very interested in Schweinsteiger’s services, and have been in talks with the player about moving to the Windy City. His wages wouldn’t appear to be too much of an issue, at least not at this stage, with United surely happy to remove the player from their books given that Mourinho doesn’t have him in his plans. It would be a shame to see Schweinsteiger leave, given how much was expected of him, but at this stage, a quick exit would probably benefit both parties.