News broke last night that Manchester United have agreed to sell midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton for an initial £22m, subject to a medical. French international Schneiderlin, 27, signed for United under Louis van Gaal in July 2015 for £25m, but has fallen out of favour this season, having only featured eight times for Jose Mourinho. He had made 47 appearances for the Red Devils prior to this.
Following United’s 2-0 win over Hull City in the EFL Cup last night, Mourinho told the BBC: “Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward informed me that the situation is close. Morgan is more than probably going to Everton.”
“I am sad and happy,” Mourinho commented. “Sad because I like him and he could be an option for us, happy because this is what he wants, to play every game and be important in the team.” The transfer fee may eventually rise to £24m with subsequent add-ons.
In the wake of Everton’s FA Cup exit to Leicester, manager Ronald Koeman demanded that the Toffees invest in new players this January and Schneiderlin fits the bill. He’ll provide some much-needed engine-power in central midfield and can also provide some creative spark going forwards. He’s exactly the signing Everton needed.
No risk involved
Everton have already signed 19-year-old forward Ademola Lookman for £11m from Charlton, but it’s experience they need. Whilst £22m in today’s wildly inflated transfer market doesn’t necessarily seem like a huge fee, it’s all relative and it is quite a significant outlay for Everton.
However, there is very little risk that this signing isn’t going to work out. Schneiderlin is not coming from abroad and needs no time to settle into the physically taxing demands of the Premier League. The only downside is that Schneiderlin will arrive at Goodison Park lacking in match fitness.
The France international has already spent one-and-a-half years at United, but prior to that spent seven years at Southampton, racking up 240 appearances. Moreover, he even spent two seasons with the club in League One, so has a wealth of experience in English football at three different levels.
Whilst he may have struggled to adapt at United, he’s a proven Premier League midfielder that has performed to high levels once before. He picked up both the Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Year awards at the end of the 2013-14 season and was credited as one of the hardest working midfielders in the league with the most tackles and interceptions. Therefore, Everton are buying a player that they know can perform in the top-flight, so there is very little risk involved with this transfer. He’s not a gamble.
It’s also worth noting that Schneiderlin has already played for Everton boss Koeman during their one year together on the South coast, so he understands what his new boss will expect from him. In that season, Schneiderlin created 20 chances with an 89% pass accuracy and averaged four defensive actions per game.
The above statistics also highlight a crucial benefit to signing Schneiderlin; he’s effective both on and off the ball. The midfielder can defend and shield a back four, but also drive the team forwards and provide some creative impetus from the middle.
The defensive side of Schneiderlin’s play is important in the sense that it can take some of the burden off of Idrissa Gueye, who is having to make four defensive actions per game. Gareth Barry, for all of his worth, is likely to make way for the new arrival and a combination of Schneiderlin and Gueye will help protect Everton’s defence, who have shipped 23 goals thus far, the joint-most in the top seven.
However, it’s his attacking play that will be most beneficial for Everton. A pairing of Geuye and Barry lacks creativity. With Schneiderlin replacing one of these more defensively-minded midfielders, he’ll be able to bomb forwards with the ball or create opportunities with his range of passing, injecting the midfield with some creativity, something they currently lack outside of their attacking players. For instance, in arguably his best year at Southampton, Schneiderlin created 30 chances from central midfield (2013-14).
A partnership of Geuye and Schneiderlin, furthermore, could be the solid platform that Ross Barkley needs to flourish. Barkley’s form is indifferent this season and it could be down to the lack of support he gets from a Gueye-Barry midfield pairing.
Social media reaction
Everton fans took to Twitter to express their delight at the news that they’re going to be signing Schneiderlin.
772 – Morgan Schneiderlin has made more tackles and interceptions combined (772) than any other PL player since August 2012. Influence.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 11, 2017
Glad it looks like we’ve got schneiderlin sorted, straight in the team for Sunday hopefully.
— Michael Gott (@Gottoefc) January 10, 2017
So Fee agreed, guess I can get excited?
— Alan Myers (@ALANMYERSMEDIA) January 10, 2017
We’ve got Schneiderlin, Morgan Schneiderlin I just don’t think you understand
— John (@efcJxhn) January 10, 2017
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