How realistic are Man Utd raids for Ramos and Schweinsteiger?
Recent tabloid headlines have give Manchester United supporters something to savour. Coral make the Red Devils 5/1 chances to be the next Premier League champions, and those odds look really tasty if rumoured deals for Sergio Ramos and Bastian Schweinsteiger, both World Cup winners, go through.
As with any transfer gossip, however, there needs to be a reality check to bring United fans back down to earth. For all their respective attributes, neither Ramos nor Schweinsteiger have played club football outside their respective countries of Spain and Germany.
Bulging trophy cabinets, including Champions League triumphs, mean they will command big fees, but these are simply evidence of what has been achieved. What can two men either side of 30 respectively (Ramos being younger at 29) add to a Red Devils that team is trying to re-establish itself at home and abroad as an elite force under Louis van Gaal?
Ramos’ abysmal disciplinary record is well-documented, as are Schweinsteiger’s fitness problems of recent years. The cynical rightly ask what use are a defender who serves several suspensions a season and an astute anchorman that could just be another Owen Hargreaves?
Such a stance does real disservice to two mainstays of the European scene over the last decade. The Premier League is more physical than La Liga and, while that would not transform tough-tackling Ramos for sinner to saint, he might well get away with more misdemeanours in England.
Man Utd still have the pesky problem of replacing Paul Scholes. Wesley Sneijder apart, they have been linked with no other name to take up that playmaking mantle more than Schweinsteiger. The Bayern Munich clubman has done it all at the Allianz, but there may be a rare sense of sentiment surrounding him there and his ageing legs.
With one year left on his contract, Schweinsteiger will be 31 before this upcoming campaign starts and has worked with Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal before.
Ramos, meanwhile, has just racked up a decade of service to Real Madrid, who are known admires of United number one David De Gea. A player-plus-cash switch is entirely possible, with rumours of a contingency plan and list of alternatives to the Spanish stopper already drawn up.
Both Ramos and Schweinsteiger have an abundance of Champions League experience, which will stand the Red Devils in good stead upon their return to Europe’s elite club competition. Coral make Man Utd 20/1 chances to take that trophy next term.