Bastian Schweinsteiger provoked incredible joy from Manchester United’s fanbase when he signed for the club last summer. It was hard to believe that Louis van Gaal had managed to tempt the German to Old Trafford, especially when you consider that United were able to do business with Bayern Munich for a little over £6m. This was a World Cup winning captain, a legend for club and country joining the club with plenty still to offer.
It’s a huge shame, then, that things have worked out in such a disappointing fashion. Schweinsteiger was one of Van Gaal’s biggest players when the Dutchman managed Bayern, and the hope was that we’d see an apparent disciple of Van Gaal’s philosophy bring some leadership and experience to a United side that was lacking them.
Things never really took off for him on the pitch, however. The 32-year old registered 31 appearances all season, managing one goal, and spent much of the second half of last season injured. Indeed, an injury sustained during training with the German national side in late March meant his last appearance for the club was late March in the Manchester derby.
Having been told by Jose Mourinho was not in his plans for this season and to look for another club, Schweinsteiger has been training with United’s U23 squad in an effort to remain fit, and if news of a bid from Juventus (Tuttosport reported that they might be interested in his services, via The Telegraph) turns out to be true, then the German should leave as soon as he can, as a reprieve under Mourinho at Old Trafford appears unlikely.
Which is a shame. Injuries played a huge part in Schweinsteiger’s troubles last season but there were occasional glimpses of his quality when he played. The fact that he seemed to love being at the club has made his marked decline tougher to accept, but there appears to be a role for every other senior midfielder at United expect for him.
It still feels like signing Schweinsteiger was a risk worth taking, however. Injuries also played their part during his final year at Bayern under Pep Guardiola, meaning he didn’t arrive at United with a clean bill of health, but the meagre £6m transfer fee was offset by his profile, commercial appeal and years of experience. As such, whilst it hasn’t worked out the way United fans hoped it would when the signing was announced last summer, the man’s charm and the lack of wasted money mean that they can at least wish him well going into the next stage of his career.