The saga surrounding Morgan Schneiderlin’s future at Southampton continues, as the French international midfielder has spoken about his desire to play in the UEFA Champions League with or without the Saints.
As things stand, and against massive odds, Saints are just six points off fourth placed Manchester United and have a more favorable schedule in the final eight weeks than their competitors for a top four spot.
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However Schneiderlin, who was denied a move away from St Mary’s this summer following the mass exodus which saw Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and others leave, has now stated his intent to play in the Champions League next season. Which likely means a move away from Saints.
In an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, Schneiderlin has been quoted as saying that he “has no desire to be sat in front of my TV on Tuesday and Wednesday” as he aims to play in Europe’s elite club competition. Saints fans have become familiar with this pattern, as Schneiderlin’s always seems to be talking about a potential exit when he is on national team duty.
“In August, I wanted to take a move but the club had lost too many players to agree to sell me,” Schneiderlin said. “Since then I have had discussions with the leaders and I want to play at the highest level: it is important at 25 years old to finally know the Champions League. 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.”
Schneiderlin has been a driving force in Saints’ rapid rise through the leagues over the past five years and into the upper echelons of the PL this season. The Frenchman joined Southampton as an 18-year-old from Strasbourg but over the past 12 months he has been linked with moves to Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United as he made his feelings quite clear when a move to Spurs was blocked last summer. Ronald Koeman gave him a week off after that outburst and Schneiderlin returned focused and reluctantly accepted Saints’ decision to keep him.
Of the three potential destinations, Arsenal seems the most likely as the Gunners have a long-term need for a destructive holding midfielder who can possess the ball. Wenger almost signed Schneiderlin from Strasbourg as a teenager but will now have to pay upwards of $30 million to sign Saints’ star midfielder.
As for Saints, their model of buying players young or nurturing them through the academy continues. They purchased Schneiderlin for $1.5 million in 2008 and have helped him improve and become a French international. That said, if they get upwards of $30 million for him this summer, Koeman could unearth two or three more star players to help Saints’ progression as they will likely have a Europa League campaign to look forward to next campaign.
Imagine if they did sneak into the top four. Would Schneiderlin stay? Or do comments like these alienate him from his team and the fans?