Schneiderlin, The final piece to Wenger’s gig-saw puzzle.
Am I a heartless football fan who would like to see a smaller club continually depleted by the exodus of their star names? Well, for heartless, I can’t be judge of myself, but Southampton has shown that they are anything but depleted. If there was a debate, the man who opposes that motion will score more points.
Ronald Koeman has fabricated another excellent team which has made the Saints best start to a League campaign since the late 80s. The triumph over Arsenal in the League Cup have seen them stay unbeaten in six games, their last defeat being at Anfield on the opening weekend of the League season.
Southampton may have defeated us due to Rosicky’s penalty gaffe, while some blame may go to Ospina for not doing enough to make sure Nathaniel Clyne’s howitzer did not stay hit. However, it was the performance of their midfield, especially the anchorman, Morgan Scheiderlin, which must receive tremendous amount of praise – the kind which rekindles our conviction that he remains a perfect solution for that bridge between our defence and the attack.
Speculation was rife in the summer about his departure being imminent. It looked almost logical that being one of the best players in Mauricio Pochettino’s side last season, any invasion at St. Mary’s would definitely involve him as one of the prime targets. And though it was indeed so, the Saints board quickly moved to categorically affirm that he would not be sold (that season) as he was seen as part of an ongoing project. He sulked but finally stayed, and going by his comments post-match, he seems to be loving the stripes of the Saints again. He has set his sights on a trophy with them this season, with the aim of getting into Europe. Surely he is the man they will need for that dream to be accomplished.
On our side, he appears to be the man we also need as the rear-guard commander.
Whether being big and strong is part of Southampton’s recruitment policy is yet to be confirmed, but Schneiderlin’s imposing physique gives him one of the esteemed qualities for that holding role. A team which plays a high pressing game will surely be glad to have such a player within their ranks, and we who touch the ball around will have need of a man who can quickly make his presence noticed in the thick of things. As he has shown this season, he possesses immense technical quality in his feet with sweetly taken goals, which gives the impression he can still do significant work in helping the attack.
Perhaps Southampton did him (and us) a favour in the summer by turning down Tottenham’s offer for the 24 year-old (can’t believe his just 24!). Schneiderlin still has great ambitions for his career, having made it to the French squad for the World Cup by gaining the meat off some other’s poison. He wants to play in the Champions League and a January move will guarantee him just that.
Deadline day gossip had it that we tried desperately (and failed) to bring in someone who could double as a DM and also provide cover for Mertesacker and Koscielny, Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk rumoured as the target. Wenger himself conceded to having failed in strengthening both positions. As much as it would have been a welcome addition, van Dijk is no comparison to Schneiderlin. The Frenchman has Premier League experience and is a big game player, with ambitions.
He fits our profile, and we fit his. The Saints will fight tooth and nail to fend off any requests in January, but we must make the necessary enquiry, and force the issue.
Morgan’s that man!
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