No surprise United have opted for Frenchman over German in midfield.
If reports are to be believed, Manchester United could be close to formally completing the signing of Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, with the Daily Mirror claiming a £25m deal should be finalised on Wednesday.
This brings to an end a long-running transfer saga involving the French international, who impressed as one of the finest defensive midfield players in the Premier League and perhaps Europe last season with some commanding displays for the Saints.
With United in need of more of a ball-winner in the middle of the park, this move looks absolutely ideal for Louis van Gaal, whose side maybe lacked some bite in that area last season due to continued injury problems for Michael Carrick and a less physical approach to the position from players like Ander Herrera and Daley Blind.
Schneiderlin certainly caught the eye for Southampton, running the show as Ronald Koeman’s side won 1-0 at Old Trafford in the middle of the season, and the stats back up the reputation he has built for himself in England, as well as making him look a more suitable buy for the Red Devils than another rumoured target, Ilkay Gundogan.
According to a report from Sky Sports back in April, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder was ‘close’ to sealing a move to United, though this never materialised and the Daily Star now claim he will in fact be signing a new contract with the Bundesliga giants.
This may be for the best, as the German international is second to Schneiderlin in nearly every key aspect…
Shots per game 1.2/1.7
Pass accuracy 89.3/85.5%
Aerials won 1.8/0.9
Tackles per game 3.7/1.7
Interceptions per game 2.6/1.7
(Stats via WhoScored.com)
For a defensive midfielder, a return of four goals and one assist is not bad for Schneiderlin, but it is in the key areas that he really comes out on top, with a superior passing accuracy, aerial duels won, and tackles and interceptions per game. Although Gundogan certainly has his qualities and brings something a bit more attack-minded to the team with more assists, more shots per game and a lower pass accuracy perhaps down to trying more adventuruous balls, he is much less what the club needs right now, and more similar to what they already have.
If this move goes through as the Mirror suggests, this looks a fine piece of business for United ahead of the new season.