Manchester United transfer news: Bastian Schweinsteiger banished to reserves with little sign of an exit
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United career looks certain to end after just one season at Old Trafford following the revelation that the World Cup winner has been banished from the first-team squad.
Schweinsteiger was left out of Jose Mourinho’s 23-man squad for the recent trip to Sweden to face Galatasaray in Gothenburg, with the manager instead taking Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini to fill the heart of his midfield. With Paul Pogba expected to arrive at the club in a world record transfer this week, Schweinsteiger faces an uphill challenge to get back into the side this season.
Claims that the former Germany international, who announced his international retirement last week, was simply enjoying an extended honeymoon with new wife Ana Ivanovic prove untrue as the midfielder reported back for pre-season last Thursday, only to be told by Mourinho that he was not needed in the first team.
To Schweinsteiger’s further embarrassment, he has since been ordered to clear out his locker in the first-team changing room and move into the reserves, with Mourinho looking beyond Schweinsteiger’s incredible record of 24 major trophies including World Cup success with Germany and eight domestic league titles with Bayern Munich.
One problem for Schweinsteiger, who turned 32 on Monday, is the lack of clubs willing to offer him a way out of Old Trafford. With his wages of £7.5m proving a stumbling point, United are yet to receive an offer for Schweinsteiger even though they are willing to allow the German to leave the club, 12 months after he arrived during Louis van Gaal’s reign.
Manchester United’s best XI with Paul Pogba
David De Gea
Has been Manchester United’s best player for the last four or five seasons and, after having a move to Real Madrid collapse last summer he is now more important than ever. He saved United repeatedly under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal and will hope under Jose Mourinho that there is less to do.
A good player whose first season at Old Trafford was badly affected by injuries, Darmian should improve next year under the guidance of Mourinho. He has played for a similarly prescriptive coach for Italy in Antonio Conte and will provide exactly what Mourinho wants in the role.
One of United’s most improved players under Louis van Gaal, he established a leadership and consistency that he had lacked before. Now he is near the peak of his powers and gives Mourinho someone to build around at the back.
The first of Mourinho’s summer signings, the £30million man from Villarreal has looked good in pre-season already. Will need to adjust to the speed of the Premier League but looks well equipped to do that and form a strong pairing with Smalling.
Had his last season ruined by a broken leg against PSV Eindhoven and without him United lacked pace and width down the left. Mourinho will like his competitive attitude and Shaw will surely feature in Sam Allardyce’s England squads soon enough.
Mourinho teams always have a midfield anchor, what he calls a ‘number 6’, and there is no-one better suited to the job at United now than Schneiderlin. Did not play as much as he should have done last year but that should change now.
The big issue for Mourinho will be where to fit in the £100million man. There will be times when he plays alongside Schneiderlin in a 4-2-3-1, when United can afford to attack more, and others where he is pushed further up with two midfielders behind him. Finding the perfect platform will be Mourinho’s hardest task.
Not the highest profile summer signing at Old Trafford but a technical wizard who excelled in his three seasons at Borussia Dortmund, which is why Arsenal wanted him too. Likelier to be on the right of a 4-2-3-1, where he will provide creativity and intelligence.
Mourinho said very clearly that Rooney will not play in midfield this season for United, so he will have to partner with Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Rooney will likely start as a second striker or number 10, but has a job to prove that he is still sharp enough for the job.
Never looked weighed down by his fee last season and showed pace, class and natural calm in front of goal. Likely to continue on the left this season where he will provide pace on the break, as long as he does the defending Mourinho demands too.
One final challenge for the big Swede who has won the league everywhere else he has played. Still has incredible strength and skill, even if he will be one of the slower strikers at the top this year. Just needs to find a way to be a focal point for his team-mates.
Paris Saint-Germain remains the most likely destination, but only if they decide to sell one of their current crop of midfielders. New PSG manager Unai Emery currently has Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Grzegorz Krychowiak available as well as former Tottenham defensive midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, and Schweinsteiger is unlikely to see regular action in Paris unless at least two of those midfielders leave.
That remains unlikely, although the delay in United signing Pogba could yet lead Mourinho to reignite his interest in Matuidi after identifying him as a Plan B target.
Another option for Schweinsteiger is to move to Italy to join AC Milan or Inter, but despite reports of the two Serie A clubs being interested in a permanent transfer, they are both teams who already have options in midfield. A return to Germany, albeit not his beloved Bayern Munich, could well be the most likely outcome for Schweinsteiger, though it would depend on him taking a sizeable pay cut from his £140,000-a-week wages.
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