With the domestic leagues along with the UEFA Champions League in the books, transfer season in the world of soccer is officially upon us. A little over a month into the transfer season and several major signings have taken place among the big names and power clubs.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, the captain of the World Cup-winning German National Team, has signed to the English giant, Manchester United on a three-year deal on an estimated fee of €15 million ($16.41 million). Schweinsteiger had previously spent all 13 seasons of his more than successful career at the German club, Bayern Munich, with whom he won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal titles, two DFB-SuperCups, one UEFA Champions League title and one FIFA Club World Cup title. Schweinsteiger told fans that Bayern will forever be in his heart, but he is ready for a new challenge before he ends his illustrious career. “Manchester United is the only club I would leave Munich for,” he said.
The midfielder will be reunited with his former manager at Bayern, Louis Van Gaal, who is the current manager at Manchester United. Many worry that Schweinsteiger, who was plagued by injuries this previous season at Bayern, will have difficulty staying fit next season in the English Premier League, which is generally considered to be a more “physical” league than the German Bundesliga. This could spell danger for the German National Team squad as they prepare for Euro 2016 in France next summer, if their captain is unable to cope with the physical demands of his new surroundings.
Manchester United wasn’t the only club in Manchester making headlines either. Manchester City signed Liverpool FC winger, Raheem Sterling, for a five-year deal on a total fee of £49 million ($76.61 million). The 20 year-old is considered one of the most promising English players and was named Europe’s Golden Boy in 2014, given to the top U-21 player in Europe. Many are considering the fee of nearly $80 million to be a bit overpriced, as Sterling failed to enter form for much of the second half of the Premier League season for Liverpool. Put simply, while Sterling has shown moments of brilliance, he is inconsistent and has notable attitude issues.
Sterling’s transfer generated notable drama over his contract at Liverpool. Liverpool manager, Brandon Rodgers, had remained adamant that the club wanted to keep hold of Sterling, and had even offered him a new contract worth £100,000 a week ($156,350 a week), which Sterling declined. Additionally, Sterling refused to negotiate his contract until the season was over and would only communicate with Rodgers through his agent. Sterling also refused to go with the Liverpool squad on their trip to East Asia and Australia earlier in the off-season, stating that he had a “cold.” (This led to a very humorous r/soccer match thread on reddit, “Sterling v Common Cold” ). Former Liverpool great and captain, Steven Gerrard, remarked, ““Raheem needs to go in and speak to the owners and to Brendan himself, tell them what he wants and go about it that way. You don’t have to throw illnesses in and refuse to go on tour.”
Regardless, the bar for Sterling at City will be set quite high and the rest of England will wait anxiously to see if he can live up to his potential and become one of the next greats in English soccer.
Image Credit to Getty Images/Manchester United