Bastian Schweinsteiger Would Be a Dream Signing for Manchester United

Paul Ansorge@@utdrantcastFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

Germany's national soccer player Bastian Schweinsteiger warms up during a training session in Santo Andre near Porto Seguro, Brazil, Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Germany will play in group G of the 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

The Daily Express are reporting that Manchester United are "eyeing" the possibility of signing Bastian Schweinsteiger. 

It is a story which feels to the weary Manchester United fan like the inevitable completion of some sort of elaborate game of Bayern Munich midfielder transfer bingo.

Schweinsteiger seems, in many ways, to be the least likely of all of the Munich midfielders United have been linked with to rock up at Old Trafford in time for pre-season. A mainstay of the Munich side, he has been at the club since he was 14. At 29, whilst he may be approaching the later stages of his career, he is still a key part of Pep Guardiola's side. He made 22 starts in the 34-game Bundesliga campaign, following his return from an ankle injury.

Any excuse to use this photo...
Any excuse to use this photo...PAUL WHITE/Associated Press/Associated Press

The idea of Munich being prepared to sell Schweinsteiger, and of him being prepared to leave, feels a bit like suggesting that a 29-year-old Paul Scholes would have signed for Inter Milan. When the president of Inter, Massimo Moratti pursued his signature, Scholes is reported to have replied "If you want me to play for you, you'd have to buy this club" (h/t the Daily Express).

With the Glazer family distinctly unlikely to buy Bayern Munich any time soon, United fans will be hoping that Schweinsteiger feels that there is some merit to the idea broached in the Express story that somehow Thomas Mueller's signing a new contract and being told he "is integral to Pep Guardiola's plans" somehow casts doubt on Schweinsteiger's role.

It is not clear why it should, as they are quite different players. Mueller plays in a more advanced role than his German team-mate, and they can be fitted into the same line-up with little challenge.

"Guys I just love midfielders so much!"
"Guys I just love midfielders so much!"Gero Breloer/Associated Press

Admittedly Bayern have an embarrassment of riches in midfield, and not content with an array of midfield talent that is almost the diametric opposite to United's lack of quality and quantity in that area, Guardiola has also transformed Philipp Lahm into a fine holding player. All right Pep, we get it. You like midfielders.

Joking aside, Guardiola's use of midfielders is another reason why this transfer seems so far-fetched. If any of the stand-out coaches in world football would be likely to make good use out of so many midfielders being in the same squad it is Pep.

All that being said, Schweinsteiger would truly be a dream signing for United. He may be reaching the latter stages of his career, but United need an experienced head in the centre of the park. With the departure of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in the past two seasons, United have lost huge amounts of know-how.

"Hooray!"Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Schweinsteiger is a proven winner, as all four of those men are. He has won seven Bundesliga titles, numerous domestic cups and, of course, added the Champions League to his collection in 2013. That kind of experience would be an invaluable addition to a United squad that suddenly looks a light on older heads.

And, of course, if there is a department amongst the playing staff in which United are light, then central midfield is it. Schweinsteiger would have been a signing which would have improved United at any point in the last five years, and with the departure of Giggs and Scholes, that is called into ever-sharper relief.

He scores goals and creates assists, four goals and four assists in the league last season and three goals in the Champions League. His ball retention is superb, averaging a 90 percent pass-completion rate in the Champions League and Bundesliga. He takes a fine free-kick, does his defensive duties well, and he is simply one of the best midfielders in the game.

He would be a dream signing, and it seems likely that it would only be in a dream in which he would sign.

However, sometimes it is nice to dream, and, of course, dreams do occasionally come true...

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