Thursday 24 August 2017

Bastian Schweinsteiger leaves Man Utd after failing to win over Jose Mourinho

Bastian Schweinsteiger has played his last game for Manchester United after the club agreed a deal with Chicago Fire
Bastian Schweinsteiger has played his last game for Manchester United after the club agreed a deal with Chicago Fire

Bastian Schweinsteiger is heading to Chicago Fire having failed to win over Jose Mourinho, with Germany head coach Joachim Low suggesting Manchester United made a mistake in not utilising the midfielder.

What has long felt like an inevitable conclusion was reached on Tuesday morning as it was announced that the 32-year-old World Cup winner was swapping Old Trafford for Major League Soccer after a four-month courtship.

Schweinsteiger struggled to live up to his reputation as one of the world's best midfielders after arriving from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2015 and made just four United appearances since Mourinho's arrival.

It was a surprise that he made any after being frozen out of the first team by the Portuguese, dropping so far down the pecking order that the club even wrote him off as an asset in their accounts.

Schweinsteiger remained a peripheral figure upon his return to the fold and is now heading to the United States - a move Germany boss Low believes is good for the player, if not necessarily United.

"We spoke some weeks ago," Low said of the former Germany captain, who made 121 appearances before retiring last year.

"He said that in training he has given everything he has got, he has shown the coach what he can do and for a while there was some light on the horizon.

"But at the end of the day it seems like it was just not to be in Man U, so he has chosen to join a club in a big city, which he quite likes because big cities give him a certain degree of anonymity which he also enjoys.

"Like I said, he trained very well and sometimes the team themselves will have wished for him to help the team.

"I have seen some Man United games where they could have well done with a central midfielder, a kind of chief organiser in midfield, who puts things right.

"But the USA will give him a new experience and he certainly has my blessing."

Schweinsteiger may not have persuaded Mourinho to count on him with any regularity, but he was a popular figure with fans.

The midfielder's goal in United's FA Cup fourth-round win against Wigan in January was warmly welcomed, wrapping up a 4-0 victory on what proved to be his final appearance at Old Trafford.

"I am sad to leave so many friends at Manchester United," Schweinsteiger said.

"But I am grateful to the club for allowing me the chance to take up the challenge at Chicago Fire.

"I have enjoyed working with the manager, the players and staff here and wish them all the best in the future.

"But I have to reserve special thanks to the United fans - whose support has been a very special part of my time in Manchester.

"I was delighted to be part of the squad that won the FA Cup for them last season and will always remember their energy and their passion.

"Now is the right time for me to start a new chapter in Chicago and I am looking forward to it."

The move to MLS is subject to a medical and Schweinsteiger obtaining a visa, with the Chicago Tribune reporting a one-year designated player contract worth 4.5 million US dollars (£3.6million) is on the table.

Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez believes the deal will force the club "to hold ourselves to a higher standard" and coach Veljko Paunovic believes it will benefit the whole team.

"We know it's going to take some time and adjustment for him coming to the new league, new coaching staff and everything," Paunovic said, as reported by the Tribune. "We also know we can rely on his capacity to adapt and do that fast.

"He can produce actions that few players in the world can do. He sees (things) that nobody sees. He opens the eyes of the fans, where you can hear the people say, 'Wow!'."

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