Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is on the verge of an Old Trafford exit.
After joining Manchester United only 12 months ago, German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is on the verge of an Old Trafford exit. New manager Jose Mourinho has excluded him from the pre-season tour of Asia-Pacific, and then consigned him to train with the Reserves side. By the look of things, his days in Mourinho’s squad seem to be numbered.
Life in the Premier League
There was jubilation among the Old Trafford faithful on hearing that Schweinsteiger had moved to Manchester United. The German was touted as one of the best midfielders of his time. Despite being on the wrong side of 30, fans believed that his very aura would turn the fortunes of Louis van Gaal’s resurgent side. Schweinsteiger was signed from Bayern Munich for a fee reported to be in the region of £6.5 million.
The German made his club debut on the 8th of August, 2015, when he came on for United’s long-serving midfielder Michael Carrick in the 60th minute against Tottenham Hotspur. Despite being loved by the fans, the Englishman’s performances were under intense scrutiny, with many questioning his ability to perform at the highest level. Seeing Schweinsteiger replace him brought about a bit of solace to the fans.
Schweinsteiger impressed in his first few games at his new club and looked composed on the ball. His passing ability was put to good use in van Gaal’s possession-based system. But as the season progressed, the veteran soon seemed to be a liability in the Manchester United squad.
Not known to be the quickest of players, Schweinsteiger was beaten to the ball repeatedly. His relatively small frame was bullied time and again in the middle of the park. Also, the German struggled with fitness concerns as he only managed to make 13 starts in the entire Premier League campaign for the Red Devils.
Manchester United lifting the FA Cup for the first time in eight years was a silver lining in a woeful league campaign. The Reds beat Crystal Palace in a nail-biting encounter at Wembley to give van Gaal his first (and last) piece of silverware at the club. A few days after the FA Cup triumph, the club announced that they had parted ways with the Dutchman.
The arrival of Jose Mourinho
After constant speculation in the media, Jose Mourinho was officially announced as the man to take over the reins at Old Trafford. Known to be a shrewd tactician, the Portuguese was expected to bring about certain changes that may not gel well with the fans. His recent treatment of Schweinsteiger has caused bit of a slur among the Old Trafford faithful.
In July, the Manchester United manager opted against picking the 32-year-old for his side’s pre-season tour of Asia. Schweinsteiger who was on the back of an enduring European Championships campaign was handed a breather and was also given time to take care of his personal obligations. Post the tour, the likes of Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial all joined up with the squad, but Schweinsteiger was nowhere to be seen.
‘Unjust’ treatment of the player
In fact, it was reported that Mourinho had banished the 32-year-old to train with the reserves, and made it clear that the player would not be apart of his 23-man squad for the upcoming Premier League season. This saw the fans lament the manager’s decision whilke Schweinsteiger’s brother Tobias refer to it as a disrespectful.
Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has also blasted Manchester United and Mourinho for their unfair treatment of Schweingster. According to ESPN, he said:
“I could hardly believe when I read it. This never happened before at Bayern Munich and never will happen.
“In the future, players will think twice before joining such clubs, who treat them more radically when they want to get rid of a player than a club like Borussia Dortmund or Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga would do.”
Former Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld also weighed in on the scenario and said that it showed “a lack of respect” on the part of Jose Mourinho.
“He was not number 15 in the pecking order, but a key player, a world champion and a personality — he also has an outstanding character. A player like him hasn’t deserved that at all,” Hitzfeld said.
FifPro member Dejan Stefanovic was unfuriated by the entire scenario. Whilst speaking to the BBC he stated:
“It’s clear bullying. In Slovenia, we would have indicted Mourinho and asked for the highest penalty – three years in prison.
“Mourinho is setting a bad example. I would take it to the ordinary court. In our case, the penal code is quite clear. If there is bullying and harassment, there’s a prison sanction, a maximum of three years in prison.
“Schweinsteiger should turn to the Professional Footballers’ Association and he should file a complaint and I would also seek penalty for Mourinho,” added Stefanovic.
Mourinho justifies his treatment
In the press conference prior to the Community Shield game against Leicester City, Mourinho explained his decision to not pick Schweinsteiger. He believed that he found the players he needed and the former German international is deemed as a surplus in his squad.
“What is happening? What’s happening is happening in every club in the world. The manager decides his squad and chooses a certain number of players to face the season, and that’s it. I normally like to work with 20 players, plus the three goalkeepers, which is what I do for 15 years,” said the Manchester United boss while he explained Schweinsteiger’s exclusion.
Should Manchester United hold onto Schweinsteiger?
Manchester United have suffered since Sir Alex’s departure in 2013, with both David Moyes as well as Louis van Gaal failing to guide the team in the right direction. Mourinho was brought to Old Trafford for one reason and one reason only – to guarantee success. As he mentioned in his first press-conference at the club, he isn’t one to hide behind philosophies or point the fingers on anyone but himself. Thus, he should be entrusted with the role of bringing in players and also letting go of the ones who he deems would not suit his style of play.
Unfortunately for the United fans, Bastian Schweinsteiger falls into that category. Mourinho expects a great deal from every player in the team, be it a goalkeeper or a striker. His players are needed to do a little bit more, to put in that extra bit of zest to guide the team past the finishing line.
Such was the case with Juan Mata when he worked with Mourinho at Chelsea. The Spaniard had been playing as a ten for his entire career and was been asked to track back. On failure to do what was expected of him, Mourinho sold the midfielder to Manchester United, and replaced him in the lineup with Brazilian youngster Oscar.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, however reputed and coveted a player he may be, does not have the spark he possessed five seasons ago. As mentioned above, the German seems to be more of a liability than an asset to the club – something that Mourinho would like to eradicate. The 32-year-old does not have the same speed that saw him win laurels on Bayern’s right wing, nor does he have that spectacular passing ability when he would complete a 50-yard pass without a moment’s hesitation. With all due to fairness to the veteran, his time at the club seems to be reaching its end.
Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba his nearing a move to Old Trafford and is the type of midfielder that Mourinho’s system demands. He is fast, agile, can fend off challenges from defenders and has an eye for the goal. He is the complete package and possesses the traits every modern day midfielder should possess. Mourinho’s style of play needs a typical box-to-box midfielder, something Schweinsteiger isn’t. It seems that his days at Old Trafford are numbered.