Bastian Schweinsteiger is all set to join the Red Devils this season in the EPL. The 30-year-old is believed to have told Bayern he does not want to extend his contract, which runs to 2016. Bayern’s Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rumenigge said: “We have reached an agreement with Manchester United over a transfer.” Schweinsteiger has made 536 appearances for Bayern since his debut in 2002. Rummenigge added: “It’s regrettable because Bastian meant a great deal to the club.”
It is delightful news for the fans but what about where Schweinsteiger will fit in Manchester United?
As proven in the previous season, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera struck up a magnificent understanding as the season progressed, but with Carrick’s absence, United had missed that important link from defence to midfield.
Schweinsteiger has the technical ability and skill to bridge that gap which allows Mata and Herrera to create further forward. However, it remains to be seen if leaving Carrick out would be a good option, especially since he was brilliant for most of last season.
If Van Gaal decides to go with a 3-4-3 (or 3-5-2, as he experimented with in the last campaign) next season, Herrera and Schweinsteiger could turn out to be the best central combination United possess. When he was asked about signing a new deep-lying midfielder in May, Van Gaal mentioned that his options were limited, apart from Carrick, and that he preferred Herrera in a more advanced midfield role.
“No.6 is a key player, yes. I have more key roles – the no.6 is just one of those key roles,” said the United manager. “You have seen this season, for example, because Carrick is injured and I don’t have another, I have to play with Herrera there. He did it very well, but it is not his speciality.
“I have played Wayne Rooney there also, but it is not his favoured position. I had to do this because I don’t have another right-footed holding midfielder like Carrick. That is why it is a key role, but I cannot discuss other positions because then I show too much.”
Although, given his performance last term, it’s extremely unlikely that Carrick will find himself on the bench when fit next season. With the 33-year-old taking up his role, it would create opportunities for Mata and Schweinsteger to offer good support for Memphis Depay, Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria – who could switch back to a right-wing spot after impressing in a similar role for Argentina at the Copa America earlier this summer.
Memphis Depay, Di Maria and Ashley Young could create a dangerous counter-attacking trio with good pace. That would mean Carrick and Schweinsteiger patrol at the base which would allow the trio to flourish and join Rooney in attack.
Alternatively, the presence of Carrick would also help Schweinsteiger get more freedom to involve himself in attacks, while Di Maria would be able to operate in more of a free role, which could see him at his peak.
Another question arises as to whether Memphis Depay could form a strike partnership with Wayne Rooney. Van Gaal is short of options and probably hasn’t ruled out the possibility of using Depay as a forward.
If LVG decides to go up front with that pair in a 4-4-2 system, Schweinsteiger and Herrera being flanked by Young and Di Maria looks to be another balanced midfield option.
Thus, there are a lot of possibilities as to what Schweinsteiger could do for United. Right now, its time to rejoice for the Red Devils as Bastian Schweinsteiger is indeed one of the best moves they could’ve hoped for.