Why Morgan Schneiderlin is perfect for Manchester United

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Football News

First it was Cesc Fabregas, then Luka Modric and now Marouane Fellaini.

Manchester United's very public pursuit for a new midfielder to accompany the seemingly under-appreciated Michael Carrick has taken them far and wide - and their search has so far proved fruitless.

With David Moyes left scratching his head as he continues to falter in his attempts to make his first high-profile 'marquee' signing as United's new manager, the question has to be asked; is the former Everton chief chasing the right targets?

Make no mistake about it, to play for the Old Trafford outfit, you have to be of a certain quality. Undoubtedly one of the best team's in the world, the United fans, staff and players demand success - the level of expectation is unrivalled. Nothing else will do.

To play for such an iconic club is equally as exciting as it is daunting, but one man who is up to the task is Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.

Now, before people scoff at the very utterance of 'Schneiderlin', 'transfer' and 'Manchester United' in the same sentence, it's worth remembering that as recently as July, Inter Milan and Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for the French-born star.

And even if you overlook the transfer speculation, Schneiderlin's stats make for compelling reading, with even the most stubborn of fans having to reconsider their stance when looking at the facts. Delve deeper, and you have the makings of a potentially world-class midfielder...


Schneiderlin moved to Southampton from Strasbourg in 2008 with a burgeoning reputation as the France Under-19 captain, having made his professional debut two years prior.

As an 18-year-old arriving at Southampton - who were in the midst of a rapid decline that saw them plummet to the third tier of English football and flirt with liquidation - Schneiderlin made 33 appearances for Jan Poortvliet's side, as he attempted to stamp his authority on Saints' midfield.

However, things didn't go as planned. Despite his obvious potential, Schneiderlin's lightweight and unimposing style of play saw him drifting in and out of games all too often, as he failed to make an impact on the team.

Southampton suffered relegation, though Schneiderlin stayed at St Mary's and continued his footballing education in the lower echelons of the Football League.

The following season saw a slight yet insignificant improvement, as the French midfielder came to terms with the 'up and at 'em' approach adopted by a number of the, shall we say, direct sides…

Having won promotion back to the Championship at the second attempt, Schneiderlin's renaissance started. Then manager Nigel Adkins spotted his potential, and encouraged the 23-year-old midfielder to adapt to the physical side of the game - to start harassing the opponents and to break up their attacks.

It was a role that Schneiderlin developed into with ease, becoming an influential component of a stringent 4-4-2 formation which focused on counter attacking football. Making 42 league appearances, he received unanimous praise from observers for his developing ability and contribution to Southampton’s second successive promotion.

Under the tutelage of Adkins and more recently Mauricio Pochettino, Schneiderlin has blossomed into a genuine talent.

Southampton's no.4 made the highest number of tackles and interceptions in the Premier League last season, whilst the teammates acknowledged his contribution too, as he was crowned the south coast club's Player of the Year for 2012/13. And Pochettino's insistence on playing a high defensive line has only served to improve Schneiderlin further.

Blessed with a Paul Scholes-esque passing range and now able to tackle, intercept and retain possession with ease, Schneiderlin has gone from a soft and slight starlet to one of the best all-round midfielders in the Premier League.

Throw in five goals from 36 appearances - a stat that Schneiderlin has openly admitted he's looking to improve - and it's clear he has a bit of everything.

As Manchester United's summer transfer window of inactivity rumbles on, David Moyes could do a lot worse than to give this soon-to-be French international the once over, and he may just be a more attainable target too.

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Morgan Schneiderlin
Premier League
Manchester United

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