Louis van Gaal has a full plate this transfer window.
And it seems his job won’t get any easier when it comes to finding a central midfielder. Manchester United are reportedly very, very close to securing a £25 million deal with Southampton standout enforcer Morgan Schneiderlin, but are also keen on Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger. But could the Red Devils really accommodate both players?
Both Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are quality midfielders who would bring value to any team, but to avoid unnecessary spending, Manchester United need to identify who their top priority is. To help make sense of things for LVG, here is a breakdown of the two stars’ pros and cons:
Pro: He’s in the rhythm of first team football. The Frenchman got increased playing time lasts season at St. Mary’s, starting 28 of the 30 games he played for Ronald Koeman’s side. The boost to his confidence showed, as he had an 89.3 percent pass success rate.
Con: Relatively low goal return. In his seven seasons at Southampton, Schneiderlin has found the net 15 times, an average of just 2.14 goals a season.
Pro: Youth. At 25 years old, the midfielder still has plenty of good years left in him, and a chance to improve his skills and could easily adjust his playing style to fit a new formation.
Con: Injury concerns. After initially getting hurt in December, Schneiderlin spent the last four fixtures of the campaign sidelined with a ligament injury, and thus demands a tentative approach to training this summer.
Pro: Unmatched experience. The eight-time Bundesliga champion recently appeared in his 500th match for Bayern, the eighth most in the club’s history. The World Cup winner also has 23 goals in 111 caps for the national team.
Con: The ageing process. Schweinsteiger is approaching his 31st birthday, and while he still has a spring in his step on the pitch, he’s been injured for 38 games over the past two seasons. His fitness struggles saw him start just 15 times in Bundesliga competition in 2014/15.
Pro: He’s a playmaker. Despite injuries, Schweinsteiger still averaged 272 minutes-per-goal in the Bundesliga, but is most effective in how he distributes the ball to others. He averaged 1.8 key passes per game, and has a stunning 101 career assists for Bayern.
Con: Adjusting to a new league. Making the switch over to the Premier League from European football can be a difficult change for any player, but even more so for one who has played his entire life in one league. Schweinsteiger could find it hard to adapt at such an advanced stage in his career.
While I suppose the saying, ‘You can never have too much of a good thing’ may apply here, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger have too much overlap to be joint purchases. One of them would end up pushed into a lesser role, a fate which neither deserves.
There is no bad choice in this situation for Van Gaal, but the fact remains that a choice needs to be made.