Back in 2008, the Southampton manager at the time, Jan Poortvliet, completed a signing which – unbeknownst to him at the time – would turn out to be a complete and utter bargain.
The Dutch coach oversaw the £1.2m capture of little-known midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin from French outfit Strasbourg, a man who would go on to achieve a tremendous amount at St Mary’s – however, it didn’t end too romantically, to say the least.
The dominant defensive midfielder made 30 Championship appearances in his first campaign with the Saints in 2008/09, where the club were unfortunately relegated to League One – not the best of starts for the new arrival.
However, Schneiderlin made 37 League One appearances that term, and then another 27 the following season in England’s third tier to help Southampton earn an immediate return to the second tier, which is where his roller-coaster journey on the south coast truly began to hit its peak.
The Zellwiller-born man then appeared in all 42 of Southampton’s Championship games to incredibly earn them back-to-back promotions, meaning that he would become a Premier League player with the club whom he had just spent two successive seasons in League One with – a truly great story.
However, it could be argued that Schneiderlin let it all go to his head.
After making 95 Premier League appearances for the club, the 15-cap France international wanted to leave St Mary’s, going to unprofessional lengths to make it happen.
After learning that he would not be allowed to leave, Schneiderlin took to his Twitter account to express his frustrations in a tweet that he has still not deleted to this day.
6 years of an amazing journey #saintsfc DESTROYED in 1 hour !!!
— Morgan Schneiderlin (@SchneiderlinMo4) July 29, 2014
He was eager to join the likes of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Dejan Lovren in leaving the club in the summer of 2014, but was told he had to stay in news that quite clearly angered him.
Schneiderlin – who eventually cost Southampton just £4.67k per game when his £1.2m transfer fee is divided by his 257 appearances for the Saints – did get his move away the following summer, joining Manchester United for £25m.
While he somewhat ruined his legacy with his embarrassing attempts to force an exit, the Poortvliet capture was extremely good value for money having netted Southampton £23.8m in profit after helping them reach the Premier League.
In other news, Graeme Souness brought a gem to St Mary’s with this 1996 capture…