Manchester United have made Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger their top summer target, after new manager Louis van Gaal dismissed the ground work that David Moyes undertook in his pursuit of the 29-year-old’s fellow German Toni Kroos.
Van Gaal is convinced that Schweinsteiger is the world class midfielder United’s midfield needs and the Old Trafford club appear ready to move rapidly. Having entrusted Van Gaal with the job of reviving the club, United are ready to abandon the exhaustive process of due diligence which Moyes was asked to undertake when he wanted players in his single season at United. Moyes’ hopes of signing the Porto pair Fernando and Eliaquim Managa were dashed last summer when he was asked for the kind detailed cost-justification reports which were never prepared by his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson and could not provide that level of detail in time.
But with United yet to strengthen their squad in any way ahead of a 2014/15 in which they intend to come storming back into the top four, the new Dutch manager is likely to be handed the £25m needed to sign Schweinsteiger. The midfielder is likely to be open to such a move, as he is thought not to have the same relationship with Pep Guardiola that he enjoyed with the Spaniard’s predecessor Jupp Heynckes.
Schweinsteiger is thought not to move the ball quickly enough for the kind of football Guardiola is trying to introduce at the Allianz Arena and the Spaniard is ready to move him on this summer.
United are in desperate need of midfield reinforcements. Though Juan Mata’s arrival in January brought class to the club, he has not displayed the physical strength in midfield that Moyes needed and there are doubts among some of Van Gaal’s new United coaching staff that he has the physicality to be a successful United players, despite his strong work ethic.
In a summer when there will be uncertainty about the futures of Tom Cleverley, and Nani and a toe injury potentially delaying Darren Fletcher’s start to the new season, Schweinsteiger will provide much needed physicality alongside Michael Carrick. The urgency of United’s pursuit of him intensified this week when another of Van Gaal’s targets – Thomas Muller – committed his own future to Bayern Munich by signing a new contract.
United had hoped to secure at least one signing before the start of the World Cup and will be helped in their pursuit of Schweinsteiger by the midfielder’s exceptional relationship with Van Gaal. The Dutchman, who has a reputation for personally helping to develop players helped develop him into a world class central midfielder during his two years in Munich from 2009.
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