Van Gaal's Red Devils set for title push
The Red Devils look close to assembling a side to rival their 2007/08 double-winning team
Louis van Gaal's list of star acquisitions at Manchester United continues to grow, after he added Bastian Schweinsteiger to the Old Trafford roster yesterday.
All that is left is for the Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder to pass a medical and agree personal terms for him to be a Red Devil.
This looks like another coup for United, after they signed promising Dutch winger Memphis Depay for a reported fee of £25 million ($52.4m) last month and also recently acquired Italian fullback Matteo Darmian for £13m from Torino.
And the club aren't stopping chasing the big names just yet and it appears the Glazers are fully behind van Gaal in terms of financial support.
Thomas Mueller remains another highly prized target, and the addition of long-time teammate Schweinsteiger couldn't have done their chances of capturing the £60m-rated German and Bayern Munich forward any harm.
If the United team of 2014/15 were one of transition, in van Gaal's debut campaign, then their prospects for the upcoming campaign is beginning to look very promising.
The Old Trafford faithful must increasingly be relishing the kick-off.
They see a squad bursting with talent and they sense a potential Dutch masterpiece at the end of it all.
Not since the Cristiano Ronaldo-led United vintage of 2007/08 has there been a team sheet of such menace.
That was when Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in central defence were the Premiership's best partnership, when Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez worked a terrifying storm up front in tandem, while an upstoppable Ronaldo glided in from the flanks like a sorcerer.
That was the year they clinched the Premier League and Champions League double, pummelling Chelsea to submission on both fronts.
That was Sir Alex Ferguson's last great United side, even if he did go on to win more honours before he retired in 2013.
With the signing of Schweinsteiger, 30, reportedly for a fee of around £14m, United have solved the troublesome issue of finding a successor to Michael Carrick in the middle of the park.
Depay, if he lives up to his promise, will give them the attacking edge they lacked last term.
Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young's unexpectedly fantastic performances in the last campaign suggest they can be relied upon even as starters.
While it seemed as if Angel di Maria was on his way out after a shocking run of form in the second half of last season, the attacking star's form for Argentina at the Copa America and some hints from him that he has unfinished business as a United player could be music to the ears of his Dutch master.
All that possibly remains is to keep hold of star goalkeeper David de Gea and secure a top signing to beef up a central defence that still looks average.
Transfer target Sergio Ramos, with a price tag of anywhere between £30m and £60m, looks like United's magic bullet.
If the Red Devils can at least ensure de Gea stays away from the clutches of Real Madrid, the United side will definitely have a champions look about them.
Don't bet against van Gaal pulling it off.
Bastian in, Robin's away
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will join Manchester United next season, Bayern Munich's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed at a press conference yesterday.
Rummenigge said Bayern and United have already agreed on an undisclosed transfer fee for the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, who has made 536 appearances for Bayern since his debut in 2002.
While Schweinsteiger is set to arrive at Old Trafford, Turkish top-flight club Fenerbahce said the transfer of United's Robin van Persie is a done deal.
Fenerbahce chairman Aziz Yildirim said that negotiations were completed late Friday and the Dutch striker would be arriving in Istanbul on a private flight late today.
"We worked very hard, until midnight. We received five faxes, sent six faxes and finally it was finished," Yildirim said.
"The van Persie transfer is done and one more star has joined the Fenerbahce constellation," he added.
According to press reports, his transfer fee will be 4.7 million euros ($7.1m).
In Munich, Schweinsteiger informed the German champions on Friday he wanted a change of scenery after 17 years and is expected to sign a three-year contract with the Red Devils.
"Bastian and I had a serious conversation on Friday and he told me he has been thinking about his career and wants to try something new," said Rummenigge.
"He asked me to find a way and things between Manchester United and Bayern Munich have been clarified - we have agreed on a fair transfer fee.
"We have taken into account that Bastian is a very deserving player.
"We tried to convince him to stay with Bayern Munich, but I completely understand that, after 17 years with us, he wants to experience something new.
"Other figures in German football like Franz Beckenbauer to New York, Gunter Netzer to Real Madrid and myself to Inter Milan, have taken the step in their careers to move abroad and I can understand his desire to do the same."
United confirmed the arrival of what is the first German player to join the club in a statement on their official website.
"Manchester United are delighted to announce we have reached agreement with Bayern Munich to sign midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, subject to a medical and personal terms," the statement said.
According to German daily Bild, United are set to pay between 18m and 20m euros for the Germany captain. - AFP.
"Bastian is an absolute leader and a world-class player who can put his stamp on any team, including Manchester United. I know he still has big ambitions and goals. He will face the new challenge in England with dedication and motivation."
— Germany coach Joachim Loew, on Bastian Schweinsteiger
FULL NAME: Bastian Schweinsteiger
DATE OF BIRTH: Aug 1, 1984
PLACE OF BIRTH: Kolbermoor, West Germany
BAYERN MUNICH DEBUT: 2002
GERMANY DEBUT: 2004
BY THE NUMBERS
69 - Bastian Schweinsteiger has scored 69 goals in 536 appearances for Bayern Munich.
23 - He has netted 23 times in 111 appearances for the German national team