Tottenham have edged ahead of bitter rivals Arsenal in the battle for Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, according to reports from The Express.

The France international looks set to be one of the next big names to head out of the St Mary’s Stadium exit door, with the classy 24-year-old having hinted that his future may be away from Hampshire.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with him, with Arsene Wenger thought to be a long-term admirer of the player who moved to the Saints as a youngster from his homeland.

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But now Spurs are firmly in the race as Mauricio Pochettino step up his transfer plans.

The Argentine coached Schneiderlin on the South Coast last term, and is known to be a massive fan of his abilities, which is a feeling replicated by the star himself.

Although he possesses a wealth of central options at White Hart Lane, ‘Poch’ wants to add the composed holder to his ranks, with a charge for a top four finish expected in the white half of north London.

Southampton are, however, under no pressure to sell after allowing Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw to leave for in excess of £60m.

Dejan Lovren is also set to head off, which could give new boss Ronald Koeman almost £100m to spend.

The Magic Sponge