24 June 2015

Morgan Schneiderlin will complete a transfer in "coming days"...

In his own words, Morgan Schneiderlin has claimed that he will complete a move away from Southampton in the next few days. Before delving into it, let's offer his own word. Speaking to France Bleu, Schneiderlin had this to say:
The negotiations are ongoing and should be completed in the coming days, hopefully before the resumption of training next week.
Tantalising stuff, that. Apparently, the man is ready to leave Southampton. Given his prior claims to Champions League football, there are only four Prem clubs he could join: Chelsea, Man City, and Arsenal. Maybe Man U. Without jinxing it, most of the signs point towards Arsenal. Could we be poised to land both him and Čech before the end of June?

Let's wade through the potential obstacles. The largest might be Chelsea. If it's true that we're about to seize Petr Čech from them, Mourinho might try to extract a bit of revenge by pouncing on a player we've coveted. While he might be set with the likes of Matic, Fabregas, and Mikel, we should never underestimate his desire to acquire new players or to try to punish Arsène. In other words, he might not need Schneiderlin, but I wouldn't put it past him to sign the man only to have him sit on the bench.

Perhaps more troubling is the case of Man City. They've lost James Milner and have to consider the case the Yaya Touré, who at age 32 is clearly past his peak. Behind him are Fernando and Fernandinho, and perhaps Sagna and Kompany. The former two have failed to impress, and the latter two would have to be played out of position. With these factors in mind, rumours of an overhaul gain momentum.

Which brings us to Manchester United. While Schneiderlin has loudly and repeatedly proclaimed his desire to play Champions League football, Man U are currently lingering in limbo. Having finished fourth, they'll have to play a two-leg qualifier. If Schneiderlin is to be believed when he says that a transfer will be completed in the next week, one of two options is in play; one: Schneiderlin is supremely confident that Man U will qualify for the group-stage; two: Schneiderlin will sign for a Prem club that has already qualified for the group-stage. Even if the first option is true, Schneiderlin has to realise that Man U already has Blind, Jones, Carrick, and Fellaini, each of whom can play DM. That seems like too many moving parts to be worth considering.

When it's all said and done, it's hard to resist the notion that Arsenal will be his destination. He's French. Arsenal are, essentially, the Frenchiest of Prem clubs. Southampton are to Arsenal what Arsenal are to Chelsea are Man City: a destination. Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Chambers—all of them former Saints—can attest to the development and stature they've each achieved after coming to London Colney. Why not the same for Schneiderlin?

Unlike those other aforementioned clubs, Arsenal could offer him a chance at being a starter rather than a role-player or second-stringer and could do so in a supportive, competitive context. If Arsenal are Barcelona-lite, then Southampton are Arsenal-lite. He could slot in to a club that plays a style similar to what he's familiar with. The match seems almost too good to be true. Schneiderlin, a French defensive midfielder, desires a move to a Prem club that can offer Champions League football. Arsenal, a Prem club that can offer Champions League football, seeks a defensive midfielder and is loaded with Frenchmen.

If Schneiderlin's own words are to be believed, we'll learn where he'll end up within the next week to ten days. May we live in interesting times...