Bastian Schweinsteiger has cut a peripheral figure at Manchester United this season, at one stage being banished to train with the reserves, and he is still far from the first name on the team sheet under José Mourinho, who finally named the former Germany international in a match-day squad against West Ham on Sunday, during which Schweinsteiger watched from the bench as United stumbled to a 1-1 draw.
In England the theory is that Mourinho is eager to hand Schweinsteiger just enough playing time to keep him in the shop window for the January sales, and the midfielder may get a game in the League Cup on Wednesday, where United again face West Ham for a place in the semi-finals.
Schweinsteiger, 32, has inevitably been linked with a move to MLS, but other destinations are emerging and Brazilian giants Santos are keen to move to the front of the queue.
“It was an internal discussion,” said Santos coach Dorival Júnior. “Can Santos sign a world-class player? The answer is yes. His name [Schweinsteiger] was proposed to the board. Botafogo did the same thing with [Clarence] Seedorf [in 2012].”
“We didn’t only talk about Schweinsteiger,” Dorival continued. “Whoever manages to sign a player of that level will naturally steal a march. But logically he would have to come with the hunger to improve the squad.”
Schweinsteiger’s salary may be a sticking point: at Old Trafford he earns 800,000 euros a month and Santos’ salary cap stands at 54,000. Santos will aim to make up the difference, or get close enough to open negotiations, through sponsorship deals.
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