Bastian Schweinsteiger has given Manchester United another problem to solve after flat out rejecting a move to Sporting Lisbon, reports the Daily Record.
Reputable journalist Duncan Castles claimed on Tuesday that the Red Devils had accepted an approach from the Portuguese club, deciding to forgo a transfer fee in an effort to get Schweinsteiger off the books.
Sporting, who appear to be losing midfielder Adrien Silva to Leicester City, could not offer to match the German's £200,000-a-week wages but could at least give him first-team opportunities.
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That is more than Jose Mourinho is willing to give him at Old Trafford. Indeed, the Special One has moved to isolate Schweinsteiger by moving him out of the senior dressing room and in with the youth players.
To boot, he has told the former Bayern Munich star that there will be no chance of playing first-team football this season. Unsurprisingly, Mourinho advised him to seek a move before the transfer window closed.
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Sporting are one of the very few clubs to have shown an interest and appear to be the only one to make a concrete move to sign him. However, the chance to compete for the Primeira Liga is not a tempting one in Schweinsteiger's eyes.
The decision is likely to leave several people around the German frustrated. Indeed, the same report claims that even his agent was pushing for him to move to Lisbon despite losing out financially.
It leaves Manchester United with the prospect of keeping Schweinsteiger on the payroll despite being of no use to Mourinho's Premier League title charge. By the time the January transfer window opens, he would have collected several million for simply keeping up appearances at their Carrington training ground.
Deadline day move
There doesn't seem to be much chance of a move as the transfer deadline approaches. Schweinsteiger recently claimed Manchester United would be his last club in Europe and also claimed to have had positive discussions with Mourinho.
He told reporters: “My wish would be to continue playing for Manchester United. I have no personal problems with José Mourinho. One thing is for sure: I’m not going to stop playing football. I still believe in my own ability. I could still help Man United if given the chance.”
For now, his priority will be seeing out his international career in style rather than sorting out his club future. The midfielder will earn his 121st cap in a friendly against Finland later this week in a game marketed as his farewell fixture.