Strengths and Weaknesses of Manchester United Signing Morgan Schneiderlin

Paul Ansorge@@utdrantcastFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2015

Strengths and Weaknesses of Manchester United Signing Morgan Schneiderlin

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    Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

    Morgan Schneiderlin was an extremely astute buy for Manchester United. The player was reportedly a target for Arsenal and Liverpool, per Bruce Archer in the Star in January.

    In the end, though, he joined United and told MUTV (h/t the club's official website), "It’s a dream come true. I still can’t realise. It’s the biggest club in the world. I’ve worked all my life for it and today I’m very happy, it’s a proud day."

    But just what are United getting? What does the former Southampton man do best and which areas will he need to improve as he settles into life at the top? 

    Let's take a look at a couple each of his best qualities and areas for growth and development.

Weakness: Disciplinary Record

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    Tim Ireland/Associated Press

    In truth, there are advantages that come with this weakness. Schneiderlin is, as they say, not afraid to get stuck in. 

    It was evident against Barcelona in the International Champions Cup clash on Saturday. There were a couple of what could be euphemistically be described as enthusiastic challenges. Last season he was booked five times in the league and sent off once. The season before, he received eight league bookings.

    He committed an average of 1.8 fouls per game last time out, more than anyone in the United squad bar Marouane Fellaini.

    The advantages of this are clear. United's midfield has long lacked a destroyer, and Schneiderlin has that ability. He will just have to ensure he stays on the right side of the law.

Strength: Passing

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    Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    Schneiderlin is an excellent passer of the ball. His past two league seasons have seen him complete a superb 89.3 per cent of his passes.

    What is notable about this is that he has also averaged just under a key pass per game while playing in the heart of Southampton's midfield, making remarkably accurate use of the ball and providing significant defensive contributions. 

    He has a fine range of passing, too, and will be an excellent fit for Van Gaal's system in this regard. 

Weakness: Lack of Elite-Level League Experience

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    This is the big weakness. 

    It is mitigated against somewhat by his presence in the France setup, where he has tested himself against some of the best. And, of course, he has several seasons of Premier League experience under his belt. 

    However, while Southampton have done better than many would have predicted during his time with them, the expectations he faced were considerably lower than those he will be up against at United. Combine that with a lack of Champions League experience and this move represents a big step up. 

    Louis van Gaal said, per Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail: "Morgan Schneiderlin has to prove it [that he can contribute at United's level] because he was in Southampton where maybe he was the leader. Now he is here and I believe in him, that is why he is here."

    The last part is, of course, key. Van Gaal clearly has the faith that Schneiderlin can overcome his experience deficit and make himself vital to United.

Strength: Tackling

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    As mentioned in the disciplinary record slide, Schneiderlin is not at all afraid to get stuck in. While he does need to exercise some caution around this, it is equally true that his tackling is a huge asset. 

    The average number of tackles a player makes in a match is not necessarily a metric of a player's ability in that area but the fact that he topped Southampton's tackles per game chart, with 3.7 per game has some significance. That number is of an attempted five per game, meaning his success rate is pretty high.

    Schneiderlin's physical ability is one of the things that marks him out as not just a stand-in for Michael Carrick but a potential upgrade on the long-serving United midfielder. 

    Assuming he can manage the step up to United, Schneiderlin's purchase looks like an excellent piece of business for the Red Devils.

    All advanced statistics per,