United completed their 4th new signing of the season in the form of Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton for £24.5 million*. The French international had been at Southampton for 7 years during which he was influential in getting them promoted from League One, to the Championship and then to the Premier League in back to back promotions; and then helped the Saints clinch a Europa League spot last season.
Is He A Good Signing?
Schneiderlin is a very talented player who already has 95 Premier League games under his belt at the age of 25. He has a great eye for the pass and loves to tackle opponents. He will fit well into Van Gaal’s possession mentality tactics. If not immediately, Schneiderlin will prove to be a reliable and common face within the Manchester United line up. He’s set to become the key player who brings the ball forward from the back line.
A Like-for-Like Replacement
Michael Carrick transferred to Old Trafford when he was 25, and has been a regular starting XI ever since. He came as a defensive midfielder with great vision and passing ability. But he’s 33 now, and coming into the new season with a groin injury so in football terms, his days are numbered. Scheiderlin is like a replica of the Carrick signed in 2006 but for one very distinct difference, Schneiderlin’s got bite to his game.
Morgan loves going into tackles, going all out to stop an attack from progressing to the defensive line. This may appear as somewhat of a liability, putting a gung ho tackler in front of the box, where dangerous fouls can be given away and he could get sent off. But, in his entire Premier League career he has never received a straight red card, and only one double yellow sending off.
Much like Carrick, the Frenchman can play in central midfield or a more defensive role in midfield. He is calm on the ball, can hold up the play and accurately spray the ball in all directions up the field. Schneiderlin completed 89.3%** of his passes last season, which was 6.4% better than Lionel Messi.
Other Reasons behind Snapping Up Schneiderlin
For the last couple of seasons now, the top teams in the Premier League have been picking away at young Southampton players (and Rickie Lambert), but the Saints managed to hold onto Morgan. This was despite heavy bids from Arsenal to secure his signature.
Arsenal are now our biggest rivals in terms of league position, with the team in a rebuilding stage, United needing to get into the Champions League, and the Gunners finally pulling up from 4th place the Red Devils need to excel pass them; and beating them to signing Schneiderlin was the perfect way to start.
* Transfer value correct to TransferMarkt.co.uk (14/07/15)
**Pass Completion Percentage correct to WhoScored.com (14/07/15)