From Sneijder to Schneiderlin
The name has been in the back of my mind for a while now. Morgan Schneiderlin. Maybe it’s because his name sounds strangely familiar. Maybe it’s because I have been subliminally impressed with the young French midfielder. I have no idea why.
With Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara stealing the Manchester United headlines over the summer, the need for a stellar signing at the club is becoming more and more apparent. Fans are craving that big name midfielder who will complement Carrick perfectly. I’m sure that midfielder will come. Whether it is Fabregas or Luka Modric, someone will be signed to appease the expectations placed upon Carrick.
However, rumour has it that David Moyes is searching for a bit more than just the one midfielder. If certain articles are to be believed, Moyes has identified the need for two new additions in the midfield to render the team competitive for the forthcoming season.
Logically, the type of player needed would be a more defensive midfielder, someone capable of breaking up the opposition’s play. Not necessarily a tough tackling man made of steel, but someone capable of reading the game, positioning himself and intercepting a pass to regain possession.
3.9. The number of interceptions made per game (on average) by Schneiderlin last season in the Premier League; more than any other player.
4.1. The number of successful tackles (on average) per game last season. Only Lucas Leiva made more.
Combine those two statistics with a very solid 85% pass completion rate and you find yourself with one of the most efficient, tactically aware defensive midfielders in the league.
It could be said that Carrick does a similar job at Manchester United already. Carrick averaged 2.3 interceptions and 2.1 tackles per game last season, near half of what Schneiderlin accomplished.
Moving away from statistics (some people don’t particularly like them), you only have to look at how important he has become to Southampton, especially over the past year, to notice his potential. Walking away with both Player’s Player and Fan’s Player of the Year awards last year, it’s hard to believe that Morgan is only 23 years old.
Where does he fit?
Sitting in front of the back four, mopping up any stray passes and pouncing onto any poor touch from the opposition before quickly finding one of his partners in midfield with a short, accurate pass. That is what Morgan Schneiderlin does, incredibly well.
With Carrick and whomever Manchester United decide to sign sat in front of him, Schneiderlin would excel. Having that safety net in front of the defence would also allow the full backs to go forward, with Schneiderlin slotting in, in a similar fashion Busquets does at Barcelona or for Spain, when required.
Returning to “similar role to Carrick” argument, the inclusion of Morgan Schneiderlin in the Manchester United could also allow the English midfielder (nearing the age of 32) some well-earned rest in games where only 2 central midfielders are necessary.
Watching Schneiderlin play, it’s extremely difficult not to draw comparison with Javi Martinez. His reading of the game is similar and it is evident that the youngster has an outstanding footballing brain. The only downside to his game could possibly be the number of fouls committed (on average) per game (1.8), but when you tackle as much as he does in a game, the chances of mistiming the odd challenge increase considerably.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see Southampton wanting to part with Morgan Schneiderlin easily. His importance and potential mean that a hefty fee of around £20-25m would be necessary for the club to consider parting with him.
A considerable but most definitely affordable fee for Manchester United, especially with talk of Moyes being handed an “unlimited transfer budget”, but we’ll save the dreaming for later, shall we?