With six months under his belt at Everton and half a season in which he was able to assess the needs of the squad he inherited from Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman had identified central midfield as one of the areas that needed urgent strengthening in the January 2017 transfer window.
Idrissa Gueye, the Blues' star signing of the previous summer, had jetted off to the Africa Cup of Nations for at least four weeks, James McCarthy, Muhamed Besic and Darron Gibson were all battling injuries and Tom Cleverley had failed to convince the new manager that he was the answer in an important area of the pitch.
With Morgan Schneiderlin, arguably the standout player under Koeman at Southampton before he was bought by Manchester United, out of favour at Old Trafford, it seemed logical that the pair reunite at Everton.
Ultimately, the Blues fended off interest from West Bromwich Albion and a reported approach from Marseille for the 27-year-old who was signed on a 4½-year contract after a fee of £20m, rising to £24m if appearance-related add-ons are triggered, was agreed.
Schneiderlin had already spent almost a decade in England having signed for Southampton from Strasbourg in 2008 for £1.2m. He was a prominent member of the Saints side that gained promotion to the Premier League in 2012 and had blossomed into one of the division's best defensive midfielders by the time Mauricio Pochettino left St Mary's Stadium and Ronald Koeman took the reins.
He attracted the attention of former United boss Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2015 and, billed as a long-term successor to Michael Carrick, made a £24m switch to the northwest, a fee that would have topped £27m had he met certain appearance-related add-ons.
His first and only goal for the Red Devils followed in October — coincidentally, it came against Everton at Goodison Park in a 3-0 win — but he failed to impress Van Gaal's successor year while Carrick has remained a vital part of the United team.
Under Mourinho, Schneiderlin played less than 2½ hours of competitive first-team football for United and just 11 minutes in the Premier League. The Old Trafford hierarchy were keen, nevertheless, to recoup their outlay on the France international and reportedly knocked back offers of £13m from West Brom and an £19m bid from Everton before a deal closer to their asking price was eventually agreed.
An obvious long-term replacement for Gareth Barry who would turn 36 in 2017 and short-term cover for Idrissa Gueye while he was at the Africa Cup of Nations, Koeman was pleased to have got a deal for Schneiderlin over the line.
"I know the qualities of the player," Koeman said after his reunion with Schneiderlin was confirmed. "I know him as a person and he's really desperate to come to Everton and that's what we need. He's a fast player, a clever player and he's a personality. This is a new step. It's a new future and he will show us his qualities, I am convinced of that."
Schneiderlin, meanwhile, appeared to be similarly excited at the chance to relaunch his career, saying:
“There is a manager in place here that I know, I know he can get the best out of me, I know his style and how he likes to play football," the France international said. I've always loved the atmosphere in the stadium. I can't wait to play and to represent this great club.
"I want to put my print on this club and do everything to get Everton where it belongs."
|Date of birth||8 November 1989|
|Joined||12 January, 2017|
|Joined from||Manchester United|
|Signed by||Ronald Koeman|
|Transfer fee||£20 (rising to £24m)|
|Contract duration||4½ years|
|Contract expires||June 2021|
|Previous Clubs||Strasbourg, Southampton, Manchester United|
|» Wikipedia Entry|
|Season||Squad No.||League Apps (sub)||League Goals||Cup Apps (sub)||Cup Goals||Total Apps (sub)||Total Goals|
|2016-17||10 (2)||1||0 (0)||0||10 (2)||1|
|Totals||10 (2)||1||0 (0)||0||10 (2)||1|
Note: Everton Career Stats on ToffeeWeb are updated after every game.