Bastian Schweinsteiger: Is his time at Manchester United up?
The German international came to Manchester with a big reputation. He was a world cup winner and had been an integral part of the Bayern Munich team for so long. On paper he also appeared to be exactly the kind of player the Red Devils needed. An experienced midfielder who could control things from deep and who would also provide competition for Michael Carrick. However, not long into the season, the German looked sluggish and fell into the bracket of a ‘collector’s item.’
So the big question. Should he stay at United. The Red Devils are going through a big period of change; they are possibly beginning to come out of the slump they were in after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, thanks to their FA cup victory. The arrival of Jose Mourinho also highlights the clubs ambition to get back on top. Now would be the perfect time for Schweinsteiger to stake his claim and get back to the level he was at a few years ago.
The German captain is certainly a Mourinho player. Traditionally the Portuguese manager likes to play 4-2-3-1, with two holding midfielders. Usually this means, one holding player who is combative and tries to win back possession and another who can control the tempo of the game whilst starting attacks from deep. He had this with Fabregas at Chelsea and Xabi Alonso at Real Madrid. Theoretically Schweinsteiger fits the bill perfectly.
However, theory doesn’t always work out. The United midfield is already congested, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Maroune Fellaini, Morgan Schniederlin and Michael Carrick play in the German’s position. And with the likely arrival of Paul Pogba it could mean a five-man midfield. Competition is healthy for any team, but would a World Cup winner with all of Schweinsteiger’s experience be happy sitting on the bench? Unless some of his competition leaves, perhaps it is the German, that Mourinho deems surplus to requirements.
On the flip side Mourinho knows first-hand just how good the former Bayern Munich midfielder is. He completely controlled things, when Mourinho’s Madrid met Schweinsteiger’s Munich in the Champions League. The German has also just had a very fruitful European Championships, having reached the semi-finals. Although he did give away the penalty for Antoine Greizmann. Joachim Loew showed tremendous faith in his captain, and always believed in his ability, despite the midfielder barely playing towards the end of the season.
Schweinsteiger is hardly at the end of his career, he is only 31 and realistically still has at least three years left, playing in his current position. There is also no doubting just how good he can be, his style of play also suits the Premier League perfectly and if he was able to stay fit for a pro-longed period of time, he could be instrumental in the new era for Mourinho. As Manchester United push on for the premier league title, the German could yet remain a pivotal player for the Red Devils. The Portuguese certainly has a decision to make, but it might well be worth holding onto the midfield Lieutenant for just one more season.