If reports are to be believed, Southampton are ready to go to great lengths to keep Morgan Schneiderlin and Nathaniel Clyne at St Mary’s Stadium. The extent of their desire to do so is enough to have led to double-your-money contract offers and guarantees of continued playing time, but even this may not be enough to keep Manchester United and Arsenal at bay.
But, perhaps, the Anglo-French duo should be inclined to take up the generous offers being put forward by their current side, who have shown this season that things are indeed good on the South Coast.
United and Arsenal are, naturally, exciting opportunities for the pair, but we think staying put may be the best option… And here are FIVE reasons why…
If last summer proved one thing, it’s that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side! Southampton were picked off by bigger sides in the transfer market, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, and, to the greatest extent of all, Liverpool all moving for the Saints’ key players. Captain Adam Lallana, top scorer Rickie Lambert and star defender Dejan Lovren all headed to Anfield, while impressive teenage full-backs Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw set off for more glamorous surroundings at the Emirates Stadium and Old Trafford respectively.
And with the possible exception of Lallana – who has come good for Liverpool recently – all have struggled. Lambert has gone from England regular to a bench player, Lovren is now an error-prone wreck, Chambers has made little impact with injuries hampering him and Shaw looks to have made the leap too soon. So, Nathaniel and Morgan, perhaps you should give your old buddies a ring before making a rash decision…
Departures of the aforementioned players really helped Schneiderlin and Clyne to cement themselves in the Saints’ first-team, which has, arguably, drastically improved. New boss Ronald Koeman has made the Frenchman the fulcrum of his midfield, while Chambers’ exit has allowed Clyne to hold onto the right-back berth, which he’s thrived in.
Around them, exciting players such as Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have been added, while the pacey wide threats of Eljero Elia and Sadio Mane have given the South Coast club a new lease of life going forward.
Over the summer Schneiderlin was representing France at the World Cup and Clyne has been in the England set-up already this season. Not bad going, eh? Regular playing time in a good side has allowed both players to break into their respective international set-ups, making the risk of re-establishing themselves at other clubs a worry.
Should the pair move on they may not be guaranteed regular football, which in turn will force international managers Roy Hodgson and Didier Deschamps to look elsewhere, and with the Three Lions and Les Bleus possessing deep pools of talent, there may be no way back.
A quick glance at the table shows just how close Southampton are to being a genuine top four side. A little wobble of late has seen the Saints slip out of the fabled spots, but they still sit just four points off Manchester United with ten games to go. At the same stage last season the Saints were around 10 points off the Champions League slots, which shows the upward trajectory at St Mary’s.
Building on the last point, Southampton are a side that look to be on the up. While Manchester United are still a big pull, the Red Devils have fallen from their perch at the top of the English game over the past couple of years, while Arsenal continue to stagnate in their almost permanent ‘fourth place or bust’ chase. The Saints have an exciting manager in Ronald Koeman, have shown that they can use the transfer market well, have money left over from last summer’s mega sale and can be relied on to churn out top class players from their youth set-up yearly.