A guest post from @foreverheady
Just for a moment I want to imagine what it must feel like to be Morgan Schneiderlin. Or rather, to imagine how he views his career and its likely progression. I should think he feels pretty good about things: another great season at Southampton, on the fringes of his national team and ready now to make a career defining move. A move that is perhaps the most important one he will ever make. Certainly the dogs are barking his name, and he is seen as the perfect fit for any one of a number of clubs, with Manchester United and Arsenal the most obviously touted by those who profess to know about these things. Premier league tried and tested, it is surely only a matter of time before he is seduced by the kind of fame and fortune that only the very top clubs can offer and virtually guarantee.
Except of course there are no guarantees in top level sport, and especially not in the cut-throat world of football.When Schneiderlin considers his options he will need to think about wages and length and terms of contract, and he must also think about the type of club he wants to represent. He must feel he can trust the manager, and that he will develop and grow under his tutelage. But above all he must feel absolutely certain that he will be a star at the club, and that he will pretty much be the first name on the team sheet. And that of course is the problem for players like him, because he wouldn’t necessarily be sure that he would be automatic first choice for any of the top four clubs. Make no mistake, he is a very fine player, but is he that much better than the options those clubs already have? James Milner is a prime example of this: he was an outstanding servant to Manchester City, but he knew that he wasn’t that high on the pecking order, and was likely to be displaced if any of the much-touted galactico signings take place as promised and as seem likely, given the apparent relaxation of FFP. Fed up with forever playing the Swiss Army Knife role Milner wanted to be a real star at his next club, and his move to Liverpool makes perfect sense. He will likely become a crowd favourite, and it is easy to imagine him really thriving: the move ticks all the boxes. But if Milner had wanted to play at United, or Chelsea, or the Arsenal, he would have faced pretty much the same situation as he did at City. It looks to me as if Schneiderlin is in a similar positon, and that is why I suspect he would not want to sign for The Arsenal, however much fans and pundits suggest he should.
Please understand, I am not suggesting that he is not good enough for The Arsenal, for his regular performances over the last couple of years suggest he would fit in easily at The Emirates. He would, I suspect, be very good indeed. But would he be good enough to command a regular starting role? Would he automatically push Coquelin out of the starting line-up, or Jack Wilshere, or Aaron Ramsey? I am not so sure he would, and I expect he is not that certain either. He would have looked at the starting XI in the Cup Final, and looked at the bench, and he would have come to his own conclusions. Does he really want to leave Southampton to become a squad player at the highest level, or does he want to wait until he can find a Milner type solution, the type of solution he has already found at Southampton. Much will depend on money, of course, but much will also depend on the extent of his playing ambitions, and how much he needs to be playing each week. Very good players demand huge wages if they know they are only going to be part of a squad and not the main man.
And that of course is the problem that faces The Arsenal as they attempt to make the most difficult step forward of all, the step from good to great. The club already has a very good squad, and doesn’t need to be adding costly extra players just to provide even more depth. It perhaps does need to add a player or two who would be better that what it already has. But they are few and far between, and they are highly prized and they tend to be even more highly priced. We have seen the difference that first Ozil and then Alexis made to the team, and I have no doubt that Arsene Wenger is keenly aware that another such signing would be very nice indeed; I suspect he is most actively pursuing a couple of players but he will be doing so discreetly and with customary stealth. He is unlikely to buy anyone for the sake of buying someone, and I would suggest he will not pay £25m for a Schneiderlin when he already has a Coquelin, unless he feels that he would actually be an upgrade, in which case he will already be actively persuading young Morgan, as one Strasbourgian to another, that he is top, top quality.
We will see and I find this summer a fascinating one. We have a great squad, and we have some amazing players. Should we have any luck at all with injuries we will be competitive next season whether we sign anyone or not, and that is a great –and also an unusual- situation to be in. It is the sort of situation that only arises though astonishing wealth, or luck, or meticulous and inspired planning. But I cannot believe for one moment that the club is satisfied to just be here, nor that it is as unambitious and limited as those who merely parrot the populist cry for a new spine, whatever that actually means in a dynamic and fluid game. The next moves will be exciting ones, and I suspect they will also be surprising, given that money for the highest quality is now very much there, as is the magnetic appeal of the likes of Ramsey, Ozil and Alexis.
Good afternoon FH and some thoughtful commentary on young Morgan. A perfectly fair point that even if we did sign Schneiderlin he would still be second in line behind Le Coq irrespective of what he costs, and are we ever likely to play with two holding midfield players in a single game?? Never while Arsene is at the club I suspect.
Schneiderlin is an inch taller than Francis so it is hardly an improvement if more height is what we are looking for, and I do think more height in the middle of the park is worth investing in.
The killer question is, or may be with these Saints players, is how will they perform at a club like ours that expects a lot more of out of them and in which every move they make, every error they commit, will be remorselessly scrutinised and dissected week after week. The example of Loveren and Lallana at Anfield is not encouraging, the season that young Shaw has had at the Theatre of Screams not encouraging.
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Can only agree on Schneiderlin. If Wenger deems him a requirement and signs him, or indeed anyone else, they will be welcomed, but with Coqs emergence, do we such a player. Of course Coq needs backup, but there are possible candidates for that already at the club. There are seasoned internationals that now cannot get on the bench, let alone in the team. The club is in a very healthy situation. the same with the keeper situation, if Wenger thinks we need Cech and IF we were able to get him, great, but we already have two keepers who need maybe a bit of work but are still excellent. Ospinas stats stack up with most, then Szczs performance in the cup final dealing with long balls to big strikers demonstrated a very useful player. If this keeper really does have attitude issues, I hope these can be nipped in the bud, I would hate to see him reach his massive potential somewhere else.
Wenger had some difficult decisions this summer. the money is in place, we now pay the wages, we win trophies, the best players will come to Arsenal, but we have a manager who is strong enough not to be lured into buying for buyings sake, unlike some I could mention.
As we have found this year with a couple of players who have come on spectacularly, sometimes the soultions are already in the squad
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As at 5.57 1,635 views of this piece – 2 comments
I blame George – he has gone trans-Atlantic
Neigh An5, George is in purdah?
OR, is he wasting his time debating with Peter Wood?
FH, a stonewaller, like Trevor Bailey? Where is everyone.
Champions League is the Holy Grail, for any worthwhile player. We need to close the open door, on the left back position.
Arsenal 0 Swansea 1, the Swansea player had all the time in the world to place his cross to the right of the Arsenal goal. Another Swansea player was quick to deceive and deliver another perfect cross. GOAL!
The problem has been there for some seasons, as first AA23 and now Wilshere, could be so easily be AWOL!
Very good post.
So good that I can find nothing to add.
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I have searched for him here, I have search for him there, that demned elusive PG!
Has it all gone to George’s head?
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On Saint Jack
Little jacky Wilshere grew up with Frimpong and Coquelin mopping up behind him that he’s not a natural defender! Arsene was fairly clear about the base or point position, that the position of D**M is not for him, at least not till his later years, maybe.
He had to improve his all round game, he has, he will but I just don’t think he’s that kind of player.hehe.
It was always a little too late in his career for AA to re-adjust to the PL (see Ozil, koscielny etc) and after seeing the MOB at work he hit the booze and pies and I don’t blame him haha! Just kidding there, I think.
Wilshere can and will rotate with Ozil and Cazorla for a season and then push on again. Please don’t forget that after his latest uncalled impact injury and return the gaffer said that it would take several months for him to find the levels he was just re-reaching before he got hacked off the park.
Many have had genuinly genuine fears that Wilshere is another player who’s have his career ruined by multiple and consistent uncalled hackery (please refer to the Utd home game) the type which was banned from the game in, oh, round about 1850.
As for the arsenal LBs, they’re two of the best if not the best in the league? Disagree with you there NOTH, there’s always a first! Though it’s true, amongst other things Gibbs could do with having a right foot. They’ve had the odd tough game when coming into the team cold, the biggest problem during the Munich home game last season was not the penalty miss but losing an in form Gibbs after thirty minutes who’d locked down the left hand side for a cold and crispy Nacho! I’ve always like Monreal the harbinger of Arsenals recent good fortune but that was a tough game for him to go into with few minutes in the preceding weeks.
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we somehow do not really need an extra midfielder especially a none bench sitting one when we already have so many like rosicky looking for a place in the squad… glad its not my decision though cos left to me, the squad is fine and dandy!
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Heady – An excellent post. I agree with many of your conclusions. The reason there may be a lack of comments is you are making too much sense. Who is there to disagree? The stupid idiots? Even they have had to go in hibernation because it is clear that a massive team that can truly challenge is unfolding in front of our very eyes.
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Coquelin and Frimpong
Bpuldie’s budding CMs from his youth team.
One managed to make it through his growing pains (knee hack Ramires, tests of character on loan etc.) the other had ligaments snap in both knees in quickly in succession and that was the end of that!
The AAA were right about Project Yoof. And the other stuff too.
Top quality first half from Cardiff with Wales the better side and 1-0. Aaron the best midfield player on the pitch.
2,500 views – 2,000 visitors – 11 comments
( notice the way I’ve rounded the figures up or down there – other than the 11 clearly)
JET signs for QPR.
JET was one of those from that JW10 class of young guns i thought would stay back
I do not know enough of Schneiderlin to know if he is a top level DM, I doubt it for one reason, and that is that Southampton actually played a more out and out DM with him – Wanyama – so for £25M the question has to be asked, would he actually get in our team as first choice.
morgan would be a great signing to almost all in the dm role, has everyhing, starting to add goals, great reading of the game and a good honest man.
Stayed all through the leagues, he will bide his time and be starting 11 within 10 months.
Go on you saints
Schneiderlin is a better dm tham wanyama (whos top class also) in an attacking or defence sence, they altername though 1 back 1 forward.
top top player hope you don’t sign him, or manu!
Great team performance from Wales tonight led by Ramsey – Belgium apparently a one man team – no Fellaini = no party
Don’t know if how many of you have seen the photo of Alexis and Vidal put out by ARSENAL but obviously if true would knock Morgan out of the water.
To be honest as we have discussed on here many times our squad is looking so good its difficult to imagine which players can improve it.
anicol how did Ramsey play, as I seen one of his long term critics whinge about how poor he was tonight
I see Jackson Martinez is joining AC Milan, cue all the headlines about Arsenal being snubbed, or Arsenal missing out, etc etc, all for a player I very much doubt we were in for at all.
ian, what photo
How did Ramsey play ?
When the Welsh went forward he commanded the pitch, moving into space, picking passes, pulling the Belgians apart.
And when the Welsh defended he performed like a tiger, tenacious, tireless and with energy to spare.
Tell the fuckwits to stick that in their collective pipe.
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Wenger “I believe Gabriel will be a revelation. I am convinced he will be a top player and we’ll see more of him next season”
Nice post Tim
From what I have seen to date Schneiderlin is a quality player but not head and shoulders above Coquelin. In fact, they are very similar in almost every aspect expect for height. I can’t see a big money deal for him….
Franny was an accident. Never mind how most of us here knew he was going to be a star. Wenger kept him around and sent him on loan to places which would develop him properly. And he was always played at fullback.
I’m only bringing this up because Coquelin is a part of project youth. It pisses me right the fuck off that the same people who trashed that strategy are now acting like Wenger lucked out. No, motherfuckers, he was always in the pipeline. He was always observed and kept track of. That’s what Arsene does.
Wellington Silva and Joel Campbell are going to tread a similar path as Franny. I think Joel comes back next season and Arsene develops him into the next Van Persie. Wellington Silva is a sort of Theo, Oxlade Chamberlain hybrid. He’s fast like Theo and he’s can dribble like the Ox. Good, little player. Saw him a bunch this season.
Keep an eye on Gideon Zelalem and Jon Toral.
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trust these Cech rumours of a done deal will likely pan out like Martinez who we hear has now signed for AC Milan despite having a done deal with arsenal
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Martinez’s agent linked him with AFC last year as well. How to be an agent for dummies? Third party ownership?
Random comment from the ether:
“I don’t get how Mourinho doesn’t want to take a talent like De Bruyne and make him world class. Instead settle for a workhorse like Willian.”
Hehe. Third party ownership! De Bruyne had the wrong agent. Fortunately the specialist in signing players signed to the special agent was again willing to overpay for yet more tat.
Does anyone know what happened to the Columbian striker who played most of their games at the WC? What was his name haha!
Someone I can’t remember who was preferred over Martinez. Falcao being crocked in spite of his agents bungled efforts to push his rehab forward which worked out so well! For the agent, forget about the player. That’d be the same special agent mentioned above, a greater influence on these sport then many/most clubs.
Cazorla at the kit launch.
Fuck! Wait! I thought this this Key player at the heart of this current group/squad, captain at times last year and given a CM berth over Ramsey (Ramsey!) in order to help bribe him into staying (he is also simply the senior pro) was obviously going to leave this summer.
One less blade to lacerate myself with. What am I going to do now?
That’s the fellow! The forward who might be playing instead of Martinez for Columbia in the Copa America. The gentleman who has just won a UEFA cup,or was it two in a row? He’s quite good, but I don’t think his agent has the same contact list in his smartphone as his national teammate.
He’s twenty nine. In September.
Utd would’ve been better off buying this player last Summer instated of facilitating the Medes Mule. Been cheaper too. But why would they do that! That is what the AAA aspire to: being an agent’s gimp.
Does make you think, eh Fins?
Where do these agents acquire such media contacts to push their agenda…