MANCHESTER United have fired a further message of intent to their Premier League title rivals by confirming the arrivals of Germany World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
The pair are expected to jet out immediately to join their team-mates – including fellow new boys Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian – for United’s pre-season tour of the United States. The Red Devils play their first match of the tour against Mexican side Club America in Seattle on 17 July.
I feel ready for this new and exciting challenge in what I regard as the most competitive league in the world and I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal againBastian Schweinsteiger
Schweinsteiger – who played under United boss Louis van Gaal for two years at Bayern Munich from 2009 – has agreed a three-year deal while Schneiderlin has signed for four with the option of a further one-year extension.
There was more good news for United as goalkeeper David de Gea was confirmed among their travelling party for their US tour, seemingly ruling out an imminent move to Real Madrid.
Van Gaal has moved to emphatically solve the midfield issues which were integral to United’s poor start last season and in the 30-year-old Schweinsteiger in particular he has landed one of the game’s most feted and experienced campaigners.
The 30-year-old made 500 appearances for Bayern and won eight Bundesliga titles, as well as making 111 appearances for his country culminating in their 2014 World Cup triumph.
Schweinsteiger said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bayern Munich, it has been an incredible journey and I didn’t take the decision to leave lightly. Manchester United is the only club that I would have left Munich for.
“I feel ready for this new and exciting challenge in what I regard as the most competitive league in the world and I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal again.”
Van Gaal hailed Schweinsteiger as “the ultimate professional” and said he was relishing the opportunity to work with the German again.
Van Gaal said: “Bastian is, of course, no stranger to me. I worked with him during my time at Bayern Munich and I am truly delighted he is joining Manchester United.
“His record speaks for itself; he has won every honour at club level and was a major part of the successful Germany World Cup-winning team last summer.”
Confirmation of Schneiderlin’s arrival followed shortly after that of Schweinsteiger, and underlines a desire by United to make up what last season was a significant gap between themselves and the title contenders.
The 25-year-old France international impressed in a fine season for Southampton last season and said he had no doubts about his future once he realised United were showing an interest.
Schneiderlin said: “I have enjoyed seven very happy years with Southampton and it’s a club that will always be in my heart. But the chance to be part of this squad and to help this great club be successful was too good to miss.”
Meanwhile, despite De Gea’s future still remaining in some doubt, he appears set to remain a United player for the time being at least after being confirmed as part of the squad for the US. United are still awaiting a formal approach from Real Madrid, who sold long-term number one Iker Casillas to Porto this week.
One player sure to exit Old Trafford is striker Robin van Persie who is set to be officially unveiled as a Fenerbahce player at a ceremony in Istanbul today.
The Turkish club tweeted photographs of the Dutchman wrapped in a club scarf upon his arrival in the capital on Sunday, although the move is yet to be confirmed at either end.
But Fenerbahce are clearly confident they have got their man after tweeting that the forward’s “signing ceremony” will take place today.