MANCHESTER: Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is leaving Bayern Munich to join Manchester United, ending his 17-year association with the Bundesliga giants.
United announced on Saturday that the club had reached an agreement with Bayern to sign the 30-year-old midfielder, subject to a medical examination and personal terms being agreed.
Schweinsteiger will be reunited with former Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, who is preparing for his second season in charge of United.
“We tried to convince him to stay at Bayern Munich, but I have a bit of understanding for a player who has been 17 years at the club, that he wants to try something different,” Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
“We sanctioned the move at his request. We part as great friends.”
United have also signed Netherlands winger Memphis Depay for a fee believed to be in the region of 30 million pounds (now $46.5 million) as the 20-time English champions bolster their squad for the season, after finishing fourth in the Premier League in May.
Schweinsteiger scored 45 goals and set up 70 more in 342 league games for Bayern. He joined the club’s youth sides from Rosenheim in 1998 and went on to win the Bundesliga a joint-record eight times, matching former club stalwarts Mehmet Scholl and Oliver Kahn. He also won the German Cup seven times and the Champions League once, when Bayern claimed the treble in 2013.
Schweinsteiger was named Germany captain following Bayern team-mate Philipp Lahm’s retirement from the national team after winning the World Cup last year. However, he subsequently missed months of last season through injury.
German daily Bild reported on Friday that Schweinsteiger, who has a year remaining on his Bayern contract, is joining on a three-year deal in a transfer worth around $20 million.
Rummenigge refuted suggestions that Schweinsteiger fell out with Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who had moved the player away from his preferred position in central midfield.
“I have to say it’s a fairytale that he left because of our coach,” Rummenigge said. “The two had an entirely healthy relationship.
“He had this desire [to leave] and it’s an understandable wish for a player coming to the end of his career. With Bastian it was a special situation because he was so long at the club. I can assure fans that we will not be letting any more players go to Manchester United.”
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2015