Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin has revealed that it was Calum Chambers’s move to Arsenal in the summer that prevented him from leaving the St. Mary’s Stadium, as his club realised they couldn’t afford to let anymore stars leave.
During the exodus over the summer the Saints lost the majority of their most influential figures, including their manager Mauricio Pochettino - now at Tottenham Hotspur - rising star Luke Shaw - who left for Manchester United - and the trio of Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert - who all departed for Liverpool.
The initial fears were that the club would sink then without a trace, having haemorrhaged what many considered to be the spine of their team and the cause of most of their success.
Rumours insisted that Schneiderlin, who is valued at £25 million, wanted to follow his teammates out the door, and a controversial tweet from the player himself appeared to back up the theory.
Now though, with Southampton sitting second in the Premier League, and having enjoyed a brilliant start to life under Ronald Koeman, the France midfielder appears in a somewhat reflective mood, and revealed to Fifa exactly why he was prevented from leaving this summer.
“Lots of people told me that if I left, it would be the straw that broke the camel’s back, especially as Calum Chambers’ transfer had gone down very badly indeed," Schneiderlin said.
"That was when the club realised that it had to stop, because the fans were already quite angry. One player doesn’t make a team, but by not letting me leave, the club was sending out a strong signal that it was still in control."
"That was when the club realised that it had to stop, because the fans were already quite angry"
Whether or not the south-east giants can continue their surprisingly good run of form remains to be seen, with Manchester City travelling the length of the country to play them tomorrow in a clash which could have major repercussions.
If the visitors win then they’ll leapfrog Koeman’s side to go one spot behind Chelsea, but if the hosts can manage an unlikely victory daylight will be put between them and Manuel Pellegrini’s mega-rich outfit.