Bastian Schweinsteiger’s departure from Bayern Munich was met with a real sense of grief… and that tells you he represents excellent business for Manchester United
His departure has been greeted with a sombre mood in Bavaria. The Germany captain’s arrival at Old Trafford represents good business. He is a timely signing for a United side who have regressed of late. 30-year-old’s arrival will alleviate their reliance on Michael Carrick. Schweinsteiger has won everything in the game and brings experience
The news that Bastian Schweinsteiger will be swapping Munich for Manchester this summer was met with the inevitable chorus that the 30-year-old is past his best.
The social media consensus from many quarters was that United are getting a hand-me-down whose match-defining influence has long since waned and whose days of collecting trophies for fun are over.
But that was most definitely not the view in Bavaria, where the departure of their beloved Schweini has been met with a real sense of grief and even grievance.
Franck Ribery looked even more vexed than usual. ‘I’m very, very sad,’ he said. ‘The entire team is sad because he’s been with us for so long. Besides that, he has always been a great friend to me.’
Captain Philipp Lahm lamented: ‘Losing Bastian Schweinsteiger is a pity for me and the club. I had hopes that he will stay with us. We spent bad and great moments together. We will miss him.’
And Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chief executive who tried in vain to persuade the club icon to stay, was heckled by disgruntled fans who will doubtless view his departure as another sign that Bayern’s status in European football is regressing.
This sense of loss at the German champions speaks of the reality – that Manchester United have bought a footballer of impeccable pedigree, a proven champion and, above all, someone for the here and now.
After a season in which Louis van Gaal’s team took a step back for every two forward, they obviously remain a long way short of Chelsea and, to a lesser extent, Manchester City and Arsenal.
So this was no time to be buying an unproven 20-year-old and waiting for them to flower, especially in a central midfield position where they are dangerously reliant on an ageing Michael Carrick.
Schweinsteiger’s arrival allays such fears. He is a good fit, a signing of experience and indisputable class that strengthens the team and moves them that little bit closer to the reigning Premier League champions.
He also brings that nous that comes with winning trophies, of knowing what to do at certain points of matches at high-pressure junctures in the season. Of leading both in the dressing room and on the pitch.
The Germany captain has won pretty much everything there is to win in the game and it’s difficult to put a value on that.
He has eight Bundesliga winners medals, seven German Cup medals and lifted the Champions League in 2013. He was integral to Germany’s World Cup success a year ago in Brazil and has 111 caps for his country.
With such a glittering array of silverware, it would have been easy for Schweinsteiger to rest on his laurels, gladly accepting the one and two-year contract extensions at Bayern until he gradually slipped into a coaching role.
But eschewing the comforts of home for a fresh challenge at United speaks of an unquenched thirst to continue chasing trophies. This is encouraging for United, who need to be firing on all cylinders from the off next month.
Schweinsteiger’s qualities are well known by now – the boundless energy, the technical acumen, the instinctive reading of the game and the venomous shots.
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