Lahm laments Schweini's Man U move
PHILIPP Lahm says it is an "absolute pity" that Bastian Schweinsteiger will quit Bayern Munich for Manchester United, subject to a medical, as the Germany captain confirmed the move on Sunday.
Bayern announced on Saturday that they had agreed to a transfer fee with United for the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, who is set to quit after 17 years to sign a three-year deal with the English football club.
"Dear fans, after 17 incredible years at FC Bayern, 15 national titles, winning the historic triple and uncountable other highlights, I have decided to take a new career step," wrote Schweinsteiger on his Facebook page.
"This decision was very hard to make because you and FC Bayern have, are and will always be an extremely important part of my life. Nevertheless, I would like to again gain experience at a new club and my destination is Manchester United.
"I hope you understand my decision. No one can take away the incredible journey we had together."
He will be the first German to play for United.
According to the German and British media, United will pay Bayern around £14 million (S$29 million) and Schweinsteiger will again work under former Bayern coach and present United manager Louis van Gaal.
The English giants are reported to be eager to complete the deal soon, so that Schweinsteiger can join them when they fly out on their North American tour.
Meanwhile, Bayern are left to contemplate life without their midfield dynamo.
"We have to simply respect and accept his (Schweinsteiger's) decision. He's looking for a new challenge, but for me it's an absolute pity he is going, I have to say," said Bayern captain Lahm.
Having made 536 appearances for Bayern since his debut in 2002 as an 18-year-old, Schweinsteiger has won all there is to win in Germany.
Bayern's vice-captain collected his eighth Bundesliga winners' medal last season and has lifted the German Cup on seven occasions.
He was a key figure in the 2013 treble-winning side which won the Champions League, league and cup crowns.
"He's a great player and there's no need to talk about him as a footballer," said Bayern's Brazil international, Rafinha. "He was a leader for us and everyone here is sad that he's going, but I hope he has a lot of success at Manchester United."
Meanwhile, Manchester City have agreed to a £49 million deal to sign England winger Raheem Sterling from Premier League rivals Liverpool, the British media reported on Sunday.
The 20-year-old did not fly out with Liverpool for their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia, after being named in the squad.
City had two bids for Sterling rejected last month, after he turned down a pay increase to stay at the Anfield club.
The player is now formally free to discuss personal terms and undertake medical checks with his new employers.
A long-term contract worth around £200,000 a week has, in effect, already been agreed upon.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS