Monday, 13 July 2015

Bastian Beefs Up United's Midfield.

Bastian Schweinsteiger will have the great honour of becoming the first German national to play for the Red Devils when he makes his Man United debut. A surprising fact in the modern era of football.

By the time the new season kicks off Bastian will be 31 years old and many people believe United have bought a player coming towards the end of his career, which is true, but when it's considered the ages of the likes of Scholes and Giggs when they were playing and the still active Carrick then his age shouldn't be in question.

What United have bought is a midfielder with great experience and at a fairly cheap £14m, a player who showed commitment to one club and an individual who has won championships galore, including a World Cup. Now that's exactly the type of player that United have needed.

Of course Louis van Gaal knows all about the German from his time as coach of Bayern Munich and that should ease the transition from the Bundesliga to the Premier League as the manager will know exactly where, when and how to use the midfielder to the best effect. His Champions League experience won't go amiss either.

Schweinsteiger had been at the Bavarian giants since a youth player, joining the club in 1998 and progressing through the ranks. Although known as a world class midfielder Bastian started his career as a left-back, but was quickly switched into the middle of the park.

He was given his first-team debut at the age of 18 in 2002 by Ottmar Hitzfeld. It was in the Champions League and he came on as a substitute against the French team Lens and from that moment he didn't look back.

Over the next 13 years, the formidable midfielder would go on to make almost 350 appearances for Bayern scoring 45 goals along the way. He has also played under some of the most respected coaches in Europe. The likes of Hitzfeld, Magath, van Gaal, Heynckes and Guardiola.

It's no surprise to see that Schweinsteiger has won basically all there is to win in the game, including 8 Bundesliga titles, 7 German cups and 1 Champions League as recently as 2013 when Bayern defeated German rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley stadium.

Man United fans are all too familiar with Bastian from the last time that United played Bayern in the Champions League two seasons ago. The 1st leg of the quarter-final was played at Old Trafford and his goal cancelled out an opener by Vidic, but his joy of scoring was short lived as he received a red card and had a spat with his new United captain Wayne Rooney. The match ended 1-1 and Bayern would see off United in the second leg.

As an international player Bastian has represented Germany at all levels and he made his full international debut in 2004. Since then he has gone on to make 111 appearances and scored 23 goals. He became a World Cup winner in 2014 when Germany defeated Argentina in the final in Brazil. In the semi- final he, along with Toni Kroos, totally controlled the match and humiliated the hosts 7-1 on their own patch.

The 'midfield mastermind' has many strings to his bow the main one being his stamina then combine that with his excellent reading of the game which allows him to be in the position to score spectacular goals and add assists.

He also has the ability to strike a ball with such power either from open play or from free-kicks and is fierce in the tackle. Basically, all the attributes that United have not seen in midfield since the likes of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane.

Schweinsteiger could be the answer to United's biggest problem in recent seasons by adding that bite into the middle of the park, which should allow the more creative players to strut their stuff confident that they have a player of his quality and experience behind them.

The capture of Bastian is not only a marquee signing, but also a statement of intent by Louis van Gaal.

Willkommen Bastian and good luck over the next three seasons.

Miles Dunton.