When Bayern Munich legend Bastian Schweinsteiger moved to Manchester United, everyone imagined he would be the next great midfielder at Old Trafford. While I was less optimistic, I was hoping he could stay injury free and cement his place in the side for a few years, providing leadership in abundance. As a low-risk at £6 million, there has been no great reward in Schweinsteiger’s time at United, and now Jose Mourinho wants to let him go. Schweinsteiger, who said that United would be his last club in Europe, has clearly not been heard by his friend, Kevin Grosskreutz, in Germany, who wants him to join at Stuttgart.
Grosskreutz was in the German squad that was triumphant at the World Cup in 2014, after Jurgen Klopp placed his faith in the utility man and he became an important player for Borussia Dortmund. Grosskreutz is known for two things around the world- firstly, he played every position for Dortmund under Klopp, including goalkeeper, and secondly, he has a massive World Cup tattoo despite not playing a minute of the competition for Germany. Now at Stuttgart after not being favoured by Dortmund’s new manager, Thomas Tuchel, Grosskreutz clearly believes he has the chance to become famous in a third way by luring his German teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger back to Germany.
Grosskreutz, who admitted to being greatly helped by Bastian Schweinsteiger during Germany’s triumphant World Cup campaign in 2014, took it on his own behalf to invite Schweinsteiger to join Stuttgart in January, saying his side would be incredibly happy if the deal went through. Schweinsteiger, who, according to reports, will never play for United again, is reportedly looking to MLS, because United was the only club that could make him leave Bayern Munich.
“He’s going through a difficult situation right now. But he’s coping with it really well. He’s invited to join VfB this winter. We’d all be happy.”
For all Schweinsteiger’s words and his legendary German career, I still don’t understand why United fans adore him so much. He hasn’t played a particularly good game, and when he looks good it’s usually due to the success of other midfielders. His best performance was against Liverpool at Old Trafford, in a match where he was well outshone by Michael Carrick, which should say enough. It always seems as if United fans are trying to convince themselves that Schweinsteiger is the player he used to be, when he doesn’t have the fitness or the motivation that made him such a fighter.
Even though he was ruled out for the season, Schweinsteiger still should’ve been around to witness United’s FA Cup title, and his supposed role of leadership would’ve been useful in United’s chase for Champions League football last season. Instead, he travelled the world with his wife and returned in his best shape for Euro 2016, a tournament in which he played some very good football when called upon. Even there, though, he looked lacking in quality at the elite level, especially in comparison to the likes of Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira, who constituted Germany’s starting midfield.
Jose Mourinho has been speaking openly about changing the culture of the dressing room at United to one of motivation, passion and desire, as it used to be, and at United, Schweinsteiger has shown none of those qualities in his actions. I wish him the best for the future, because he is a great footballer, but he is being paid incredible wages and isn’t doing much for United, which leads me to think it just isn’t meant to be.