Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United career looks certain to end after just one season at Old Trafford following the revelation that the World Cup winner has been banished from the first-team squad.
Schweinsteiger was left out of Jose Mourinho’s 23-man squad for the recent trip to Sweden to face Galatasaray in Gothenburg, with the manager instead taking Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini to fill the heart of his midfield. With Paul Pogba expected to arrive at the club in a world record transfer this week, Schweinsteiger faces an uphill challenge to get back into the side this season.
Claims that the former Germany international, who announced his international retirement last week, was simply enjoying an extended honeymoon with new wife Ana Ivanovic prove untrue as the midfielder reported back for pre-season last Thursday, only to be told by Mourinho that he was not needed in the first team.
To Schweinsteiger’s further embarrassment, he has since been ordered to clear out his locker in the first-team changing room and move into the reserves, with Mourinho looking beyond Schweinsteiger’s incredible record of 24 major trophies including World Cup success with Germany and eight domestic league titles with Bayern Munich.
One problem for Schweinsteiger, who turned 32 on Monday, is the lack of clubs willing to offer him a way out of Old Trafford. With his wages of £7.5m proving a stumbling point, United are yet to receive an offer for Schweinsteiger even though they are willing to allow the German to leave the club, 12 months after he arrived during Louis van Gaal’s reign.
Paris Saint-Germain remains the most likely destination, but only if they decide to sell one of their current crop of midfielders. New PSG manager Unai Emery currently has Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Grzegorz Krychowiak available as well as former Tottenham defensive midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, and Schweinsteiger is unlikely to see regular action in Paris unless at least two of those midfielders leave.
That remains unlikely, although the delay in United signing Pogba could yet lead Mourinho to reignite his interest in Matuidi after identifying him as a Plan B target.
Another option for Schweinsteiger is to move to Italy to join AC Milan or Inter, but despite reports of the two Serie A clubs being interested in a permanent transfer, they are both teams who already have options in midfield. A return to Germany, albeit not his beloved Bayern Munich, could well be the most likely outcome for Schweinsteiger, though it would depend on him taking a sizeable pay cut from his £140,000-a-week wages.
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