There has been a lot of speculation surrounding imminent bids from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur for Southampton’s star man Morgan Schneiderlin in January.
The Frenchman has been in impressive form so far this season and could be exactly what the north London duo need should they make a move for him in the winter window. Schneiderlin does the simple things extremely well for Southampton, he has recorded the team’s second-highest pass total so far this season with 858 (Jose Fonte leads the way with 961) which is an impressive stat considering his recent injury struggles. He is also Southampton’s second highest Premier League goalscorer with three goals, trailing Pelle’s tally of eight. The Frenchman has also made 37 tackles so far this season, with Victor Wanyama the only Southampton midfielder producing more (43).
If Schneiderlin does opt to move away from St Marys, he will almost certainly be deployed in a defensive midfield role, a position Tottenham and Arsenal desperately need to strengthen. Firstly, Arsenal’s defensive midfield options have been quite weak this campaign. Mathieu Flamini has managed 28 tackles this season and has completed 715 passes so far. The other defensive option of Mikel Arteta is not good reading for Arsenal fans either, as he has only made nine tackles and produced 400 passes in the Premier League this term. Schneiderlin is stronger in the air compared to Flamini as well, with the Southampton midfielder winning 22 headers compared to Flamini’s 19. In fact, Morgan Schneiderlin completely dominates the stats when put head to head against the likes of Flamini and Arteta. The defensive midfield area has been highlighted as a problem position for Arsenal for a long time now and Schneiderlin will offer much improvement in that particular area.
A similar story lies with Tottenham. Both Etienne Capoue (23 tackles) and Ryan Mason (33 tackles) cannot match Schneiderlin’s figures. Capoue also registers the second-highest passing statistics at Tottenham with 676 successful passes, which is still way off the Frenchman’s total. The combined total of headers won by both Mason and Capoue only amounts to 17 so again, Schneiderlin is the better option in the defensive midfield role. Tottenham fans will argue that Ryan Mason isn’t exactly a defensive midfielder and that he has been in impressive form this season. This is completely true but it also reveals Tottenham’s desperate need to strengthen in this particular area of the pitch. Although Capoue is a competent performer, he is not a better option than Southampton’s midfield man.
Although stats are not always the best way to determine the ability of a player, a complete dominance from Morgan Schneiderlin suggests that the midfielder will improve the midfield of both Tottenham and Arsenal. This will worry Southampton as the player himself wanted to leave the club in the summer. However, their recent run of form may persuade the Frenchman to stay until the end of the season at least.
Also, Ronald Koeman will be determined to keep hold of his best players after a turbulent summer transfer window; the Dutchman will want to avoid the panic of replacing star names once again in January. Southampton will be doing all they can to keep hold of the 25-year-old, whether they can do it or not remains to be seen but Schneiderlin is a very attractive proposition for the two North London clubs.