Santos manager Dorival Junior has declared an interest in Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger as he aims to provide "a huge wake-up call for the world". The former Germany captain has failed to make a single appearance so far this season after being ostracised by Jose Mourinho following his return from Euro 2016, but was included on the bench during the Premier League match against West Ham United on Sunday (28 November) due to a minor calf injury sustained by Michael Carrick.
Schweinsteiger remained an unused substitute during that 1-1 draw and his recent return to first-team training in the build-up to a disappointing defeat to Fenerbahce was described by Mourinho as a "human and professional decision" influenced by a shortage of numbers. Such a comeback was also seen as a chance to regain match fitness ahead of a likely winter exit.
"My plan, which I have tried to pass on to the Santos board, is for Santos to once more have a world-class player, which we should look for in European clubs if they are not being used properly," Junior told Brazil's UOL Esporte.
"[Schweinsteiger] fits that profile. I have not officially passed this on [to the board], it is my initiative to have a player with Schweinsteiger's history. He is not doing well in Manchester and suddenly a Brazilian club is interested in a player of his class, it could shake the market up."
If indeed they are serious about pursuing a deal for Schweinsteiger, Santos are likely to face stiff competition from America. Major League Soccer has long been thought of as the most likely next destination for a player who declared in August that United would be his last European club and Chicago Fire have been heavily linked with his signature over recent weeks as they look to make a splash after finishing bottom of the MLS's Eastern Conference for the second year in succession.
The 32-year-old was recently spotted meeting Chicago head coach Veljko Paunovic for dinner in Manchester and a recent report from Goal USA claimed that he has been offered a three-year deal worth an annual $5.5m (£4.4m, $5.1m) that would make him one of the league's highest-paid players. The Fire supposedly want their prospective new signing in place for pre-season training in January, although FC Dallas president Dan Hunt has also expressed his admiration for Schweinsteiger. Commissioner Don Garber confirmed last month that the injury-prone former Bayern Munich stalwart would be welcomed to the MLS "with open arms".