LONDON:  Last year Louis Van Gaal had restricted influence on Manchester United’s transfer business because he could not devote full attention to the task in hand because of Holland’s World Cup campaign.

This summer is different, hence the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger for a three-year-deal worth £135,000-a-week in time to fly off tomorrow with United’s squad to Seattle in the United States for United’s summer tour. The initial days will be spent training behind closed doors, the ideal environment for coming to know new team-mates on and off the pitch.

Schweinsteiger, who will cost £14m to prise away from his only previous professional club, is already ‘only’ the third of Van Gaal’s reinforcements after Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven and Torino’s £13m-rated Italy rightback Matteo Darmian.

However his signing is the greatest coup with Van Gaal, who knows him well from their days together in Munich, and was undeterred by the injuries which restricted Germany’s World Cup-winner to 15 Bundesliga starts last season. Van Gaal always insisted to Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, that Schweinsteiger should be his priority target.

Ryan Giggs, Van Gaal’s assistant, said last month that “looking to strengthen the spine of the team” was United’s main transfer objective. United first considered Schweinsteiger six years ago when Sir Alex Ferguson was seeking to replace Paul Scholes. Now, at last, the deal has been done with Schweinsteiger looking forward, injuries permitting, to regular football all the way through to Euro 2016.

Schweinsteiger will take over the anchor role in midfield, either in contention or in partnership with Michael Carrick depending on the match context. His resilience will also be valuable in protecting United’s fragile central defence.

The German champions had hoped to keep the 30-year-old World Cup winner, who has spent his entire career with the club to date, but said they would not stand in his way if he wanted to leave.

Bayern ceo Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said he met 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. When he stops, we will talk about whether there is a second career for him here at Bayern.”

Titles and trophies

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.

After winning 111  caps for Germany, he is now poised to become United’s third signing of the summer following the £25million arrival of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven and Torino right-back Matteo Darmian.

The 25-year-old Italian made 146 appearances and scored five league goals for Torino since making his debut in 2011.

The defender also has 13 international caps for Italy and was part of their World Cup squad last summer in Brazil. He has represented his country at every youth level from Under-17 to Under-21.

Darmian said: “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, born in Legnano, Milan, has agreed a contract that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2019 with the option to extend for a further year. The fee is believed to be around £13million.

Van Gaal added: “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.”

Darmian was at Milan from 2001 to 2010 before being sold to Palermo, who are due roughly five per cent of the player’s transfer fee, which amounts to around £287,000.

United’s business is far from complete. They are still considering pressing for Southampton’s France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin and continue to to Real Madrid that will not sell goalkeeper David De Gea unless Sergio Ramos comes the other way.

Harry Kane remains a strike target though Van Gaal may give £31m Depay the chance to take over Robin Van Persie’s old central striker role while Van Persie heads for Fenerbahce despite interest from Italy and Spain.

Van Persie was left little option after Van Gaal made clear he no longer figured in United’s first-team plans. Yet the 31-year-old’s goals were central to United’s last Premier title win, in 2012-13, and he was their second top-scorer last season with 10 goals from 25 starts.