Manchester United’s summer recruitment drive gathered pace on Saturday as they followed up having struck a deal with Bayern Munich to sign midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger by completing the purchase of defender Matteo Darmian from Torino.
The statement-making move for World Cup winner Schweinsteiger, which is subject to a medical and personal terms, would see the 30-year-old, who has spent his entire career at Bayern, link up once again with manager Louis van Gaal.
“Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement with Bayern Munich to sign midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, subject to a medical and personal terms,” a statement on United’s official website read of a move which will be the stand-out deal of the summer so far.
A few hours later, Torino confirmed the sale of 25-year-old full-back Darmian to the Old Trafford club.
He travelled to England on Friday after a fee, believed to be in the region of £12.7million, was agreed.
Torino announced the news on their website on Saturday evening – “Thanks Darmian, four wonderful years” – followed by a statement which read: “Torino Football Club announces that it has sold to Manchester United, outright, the rights of the player Matteo Darmian.
“President Urbano Cairo would like to thank Matteo Darmian for the seriousness, commitment and professionalism demonstrated in these years. Torino FC wishes Matteo all the best for this amazing new experience.”
United boss Van Gaal worked with Schweinsteiger during his own spell in Munich and has been keen to recruit his former charge to bolster a midfield which currently relies heavily on Michael Carrick, 34 later this month, and Daley Blind, with concerns over the amount of cover offered in front of defence.
The Old Trafford club confirmed the news after Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed the agreement between the two clubs earlier on Saturday.
Speaking to the Bayern website, Rummenigge said he met with Schweinsteiger on Friday and the midfielder said he had decided to go.
“We have responded to this request,” Rummenigge said. “My colleague from Manchester United has contacted me. We have agreed on a transfer.”
Rummenigge added: “We tried to convince him to stay with Bayern Munich. But I also understand that a player who has spent 17 years at Bayern Munich, at the end of his career still wants to gain a new experience.”
Describing him as “an icon, a legend”, the chairman also said he hoped to see Schweinsteiger back at the club in the future.
“He has done great things here, he has won everything,” he said. “I suggest to him that we will give him a great farewell match in Munich when he finishes his career, whenever that will be. And when he stops, we will talk about whether there is a second career for him here at Bayern.”
Schweinsteiger has won the Bundesliga eight times, lifted the Champions League with Bayern in 2013 and was part of Germany’s World Cup winning squad last summer.
Schweinsteiger, who has won 111 caps for Germany, is now poised to become United’s second signing of the summer following the £25million arrival of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven.
Germany coach Joachim Low said the midfielder would thrive at United.
“Basti is an absolute leader and world-class player who can put his stamp on any team, including of course Manchester United,” he said on www.dfb.de.
“He knows Louis van Gaal, who wanted him unconditionally.
“I know from him that he still has big ambitions and goals.
“He will approach his new challenge in England like we all know him – with dedication and highly-motivated.
“For Bayern and the Bundesliga his departure is without question a loss.”
Bayern team-mate Franck Ribery admitted to being “very, very sad”, adding: “I believe that all of Bayern is sad. He won everything with us. He is a really good friend of mine. But such is football. I can only wish him lots of luck.”
United head to the United States on their pre-season tour on Monday, with Schweinsteiger now expected to be part of the group.
United later confirmed the acquisition of Darmian on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further 12 months.
The player told www.manutd.com: “It is a dream come true to be joining Manchester United. I have loved the time that I have spent at Torino and I would like to thank the club and the fans for everything they have done for me.
“I am sure they can understand when the opportunity to join the biggest club in world came along it was something I had to do. To work with Louis van Gaal, a manager that has achieved so much in football is such an exciting prospect.”
Darmian, who made 146 appearances and scored five league goals for Torino, has won 13 Italy caps and was part of the Azzurri squad for last summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Van Gaal said: “Matteo is a right-sided full-back with the versatility of also being able to play on the left. He is a strong defender and has the ability to go forward in the attacking positions which is a fantastic attribute to have and much needed in the fast rhythm of the Premier League.
“Matteo will be a great addition to the team. I am delighted to welcome Matteo to the club and look forward to working with him in the coming days.”
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