“Given that, late in the season, Southampton may qualify for the Champions League and I can stay, who knows. I have no desire to be in front of my TV on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Ouch, Southampton. It looks like Morgan Schneiderlin will be off this summer then, with the Saints’ hopes of European football next season fading on an almost weekly basis. Spurs and Liverpool are two sides believed to be in the hunt for the Frenchman, and the 25-year-old’s words will surely alert them.
The two clubs sit either side of the South Coast outfit in the table, but, the odds suggest, that they’re far more likely to break into the top four than their red and white striped enemies this term and can harbour greater ambitions for future campaigns, making luring Schneiderlin away this summer a genuine possibility at this stage for the pair.
The former Strasbourg man has been with Southampton since their League One days, so it’s unlikely that the St Mary’s side will look to hold him down any longer should he formalise his words with a transfer request, so a deal could go through.
Here are FIVE reasons Liverpool and Spurs cannot ignore Schneiderlin…
As the numbers show, Schneiderlin is a better holding midfielder than those Liverpool and Spurs currently possess. The Frenchman is superior on the ball in terms of passing accuracy per 90 minutes and is more effective at winning tackles, while his percentage of duels won is not far off the Anfield and White Hart Lane stars’ records.
He also ranks well in terms of chance creation and shots per game, which is a bonus on top of his neat passing and tackling.
At 25, Schneiderlin is just about to enter, what should be, the peak of his footballing career. Typically, footballers mature physically at this age and possess the sort of experience to avoid the rash actions that often come with the naivety of youth. Schneiderlin clearly knows this as he has his eye on the ‘big move’, which speaks volumes of his confidence and faith in his own ability.
Despite the ‘exodus’ of last summer, Southampton have been top four contenders for the best part of the season. The games may be catching up with them a little as we enter the home straight, but their achievements should not be ignored.
However, the loss of another key man in Schneiderlin could deliver a fatal blow, with the Frenchman having been the glue keeping the Saints’ first XI together following the exits of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren – last season’s spine. Without the Frenchman Southampton should remain too good to go down, but they will, perhaps, not be good enough to challenge at the top, so Liverpool, or Spurs could throw them into a state of Swansea limbo.
There’s not doubt that having a player of Schneiderlin’s quality will boost both sides’ chances of top four football. The pair may miss out this season, but having a top class midfielder will give them better opportunities next term, which they could sue to convince the Saints man to sacrifice the Champions League for another season.
Having joined Southampton as a teenager from Strasbourg and fought his way up from the depths of League One with them, Schneiderlin knows all about the English game. At risk of sounding a little Nigel Farage, foreign imports can sometimes find the adaptation pretty tricky – just look at Spurs’ 2013 business! – so a player able to make that instant impact is desirable.