Southampton openly courting summer transfer replacements for Morgan Schneiderlin, hinting the French midfielder could move to Arsenal.
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has been one of the revelations of the club’s rise in the Premier League, but came close to leaving last summer, with the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur linked.
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The Gunners were most strongly believed to be interested in the France international, and Arsene Wenger’s ears will have pricked up at the news that Ronald Koeman has publicly voiced interest in signing two men who play in Schneiderlin’s central midfield role.
The Saints boss hailed Feyenoord stars Jordy Clasie and Tonny Vilhena, who have each played excellently for the Rotterdam giants this term.
“I’m a fan of his. He’s on our list,” said Koeman to Voetbal International of Clasie, 23, and praised 20 year-old prospect Vilhena too.
“I know him well and I know what he can do,” explained the 51 year-old. “In addition, we have no left-footed midfielders in our selection, so we could use someone like him.”
Clasie has been particularly good for Feyenoord, thanks to all-round midfield skills and leadership. Already captain of his club at this early stage of his career, Clasie is an intelligent player who links defence and attack.
The downside is that he is a far less physical presence than Schneiderlin at only 5’6″, and may struggle to adapt to the fast-paced Premier League – even if he is already a Dutch international.
The younger Vilhena has been likened to Edgar Davids, thanks to a bullish attitude, immense stamina and powerful left foot.
Southampton fans will be entitled to wonder why their manager is speaking out about another club’s players, and – reading between the lines – whether that entitles them to optimism or pessimism about their summer business.
Meanwhile, fans of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs will be licking their lips at the prospect of Schneiderlin on the market.