Why Manchester United Need To Sign Morgan Schneiderlin
With the Vidal saga still without a conclusion it may be time for United to pursue other options before they are left scrambling for players in August. We saw twelve months ago what the dangers are when switching targets is left too late and Ed Woodward will be keen to ensure that United aren't left paying over the odds for a fifth choice target once more.
United have embarked on a new style this pre-season and it is one that provides creative midfielders like Herrera and Mata to showcase all of their attacking talents. But the key in this 3-4-1-2 dynamic, like most, is balance and the man beside Herrera has an important role sitting in front of the new formed back three. Darren Fletcher has looked the most comfortable in the position of all the players that have been tried there, but with doubts over whether or not he’ll see out a full season as first choice after his illness United must buy a second central-midfielder this window.
Arturo Vidal is the best modern midfielder in world football and it would be only a fool who wouldn't look to sign him but it’ll take a large fee to tempt Italian giants Juventus to sell and with United also in the market for a centre-back they may be reluctant to stump up such a large chunk of their remaining budget. After Vidal it would appear that Kevin Strootman is second on Van Gaal’s list, the player was a key member of the Netherlands' World Cup qualifying campaign but he missed the tournament in Brazil through a serious knee injury and it remains to be seen how the player will recover from it.
With no European campaign United may have been tempted to put any potential Strootman deal on the backburner until January but Michael Carrick’s injury – that sees him miss the full pre-season - may just force the club to step-up their pursuit of a second midfield summer signing. So with hesitation over Strootman it is time for United to take a look at Luke Shaw’s former teammate Morgan Schneiderlin. The French midfielder has allegedly put in a transfer request at Saint Mary’s and United should use this turmoil to their advantage.
Southampton impressed many last season as their squad with an attacking English core finished one place behind Manchester United. They were a young side who played without fear and with great pace when attacking and they took the plaudits of almost all onlookers with Schneiderlin key to their system. The Frenchman was just as collected on the ball as any other of their creative entities but also provided great cover, especially to their inexperienced fullbacks. This cover has seen both of Southampton’s younger fullbacks join bigger clubs in the shape of Chambers to Arsenal and of course Luke Shaw to United. His style of play when protecting the backline is based on intelligence and the 24 year old can read the game well but he enjoys a tackle as well and can break up counter-attacking play expertly.
As well as his defensive reliability Schneiderlin retains possession well without ever getting too adventurous with his passing. Ander Herrera, also 24, would enjoy great freedom beside Schneiderlin and would relish creating a partnership that could last as long as Keane and Scholes’, and if it was half as successful the summer of 2014 could be deemed a great success.