Over the past few years, Manchester United have lacked a leader of European pedigree, to help shore up the rest of the side with plenty of experience under his belt to match. The last to do so was arguably Paul Scholes, which made Bastian Schweinsteiger's move to Manchester all the more intriguing.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was bought for a reported fee of £6m during the summer, the World Cup winner wasn’t a risky signing for Manchester United. Many were surprised by the fact the club were heavily linked with a move for Morgan Schneiderlin, someone who is younger than Bastian and was one of the best in his position in the league last season. But the club definitely needed a leader especially going through a rough debut season in the Louis van Gaal era without many leaders at all.
What does Schweinsteiger actually offer?
It’s a fact that he won’t be able to keep up with the performances he used to perform in his Bayern Munich days, but he still offers a lot to the team mainly his leadership skills towards the young players like Luke Shaw, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial. The club haven’t had many leaders after Louis van Gaal came in with Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra all leaving the club the same summer to continue their career elsewhere. With the Reds still going through a tough period in a transition, the addition of a class player who has won everything at Bayern Munich should be understood as a big advantage.
As well as his leadership, Schweinsteiger also brings tenacity to a midfield which hasn’t been strong in recent years and has been easily dominated at times. So far this season Schweinsteiger and whoever is a partner is in the defensive midfield role have done exceptionally well providing protection and calmness in front of the defence. The club have the best defence in the league this season only conceding eight goals, the last goal was conceded at the beginning of October in a 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal.
Club's central midfield problems over past ten years
The gifted German is a player all fans would have been craving for if he had joined the club during his best years and mainly after the retirement of Paul Scholes. After Scholes' retirement, the club didn’t do well to find a half decent replacement, with the likes of Tom Cleverley, Darren Gibson and Anderson not fulfilling their potential toward the expectation of the Premier League giants. But two years after Scholes’ retirement they finally found a player who is very similar to him, the all round central midfielder who may not be at his best anymore but is still a big game player for Manchester United.
Schweinsteiger and Van Gaal's relationship
Schweinsteiger is one of Louis van Gaal’s favourite players to play in the No.6 role, where he observes the play and when on the ball sets off an attack straight away with the fantastic mind of his. He is a player who has played in every competition and won nearly all of them. Especially in the European games he will be a vital player for Manchester United considering the fact they didn’t participate in the campaign last season but have returned with a stronger midfield. Settling into a new league was a worry for few fans, but it appears as if he has been playing at the club for quite some time. The main problem he was going to be up against was the physical part of the game which he has surprisingly done well against.
Van Gaal wants to build a team who can connect and link up together really well so starting with Schweinsteiger in the middle of the pitch with the attributes he provides is a great way to create the team. Van Gaal gave his reason in an interview on why he signed him: “Smart, brain, control, defence, stability.” From this, you can clearly tell the manager wanted someone who understands his philosophy really well and who else knows more than Schweinsteiger does.