Schneiderlin had been widely tipped to join Arsenal rivals Tottenham Hotspur. His former manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has already made the move to north London this summer. Schneiderlin seemed set to follow suit, with BBC Sport reporting that both he and Saints team-mate Jay Rodriguez were “close” to signing for Spurs.
However, since then, the deal has seemingly fallen apart. Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger suddenly and unexpectedly declared the pair not for sale, telling BBC Radio Solent (via BBC Sport): "Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin will be in our line-up as we move into next season. They will not be sold."
It appears Schneiderlin was less than happy about the news. He later wrote on his personal Twitter account: "6 years of an amazing journey #saintsfc DESTROYED in 1 hour !!!"
It seems whatever relationship existed between Southampton and Schneiderlin has been irrevocably damaged. Sky Sports are now reporting that the player has handed in an official transfer request in attempt to force a move.
This is where Arsenal should step in.
Schneiderlin is exactly what they need. The club have made four impressive recruits this summer but are still lacking a steely holding midfielder.
Schneiderlin has all the attributes required to thrive in the Arsenal midfield. He is a tough tackler but also an astute passer. He can battle with the toughest, but he can play, too. At Southampton, he has matured into a fine holding midfielder, and he would make for a suitable successor to Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners do hold a long-standing interest in Schneiderlin. The player’s home town is not far from the place of Arsene Wenger’s birth, and the French manager will have kept a close eye on the midfielder’s development.
According to the BBC’s Ben Smith, Arsenal have already made a firm enquiry about Schneiderlin’s availability:
He won’t come cheap; however, the recent row might have reduced his price tag slightly.
Arsenal will have to hope that the accord between the player and Spurs is not too strong. It’s possible that Southampton will now refuse to sell the player to Pochettino, and Arsenal will be able to step in to the breach.
For Schneiderlin, joining the Gunners makes plenty of sense. Arsenal have a strong core of French internationals and a French manager at the helm. What’s more, unlike Spurs, they are a Champions League club.
Schneiderlin would be accelerating his development if he joined an elite club at Arsenal’s level. That in turn would increase his prospects with the national team. Schneiderlin was a fringe player at this summer’s World Cup; while at Arsenal, he could become a regular international.
A move to Arsenal might benefit all parties. With the switch to Spurs on the verge of collapse, Wenger’s Gunners could well be the lucky beneficiaries.