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Morgan Schneiderlin 2

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."

That he certainly did with some a series of solid performances that strengthened the midfield substantially and was at the heart of a good unbeaten run after the Goodison derby that saw Everton rise to the top of the Premier League form table for a few months in the New Year.  But he missed a few big games with injury and Everton could progress no higher than 7th in the end.

After getting married to his incredibly beautiful fiancee, Camille Sold, his football game basically fell apart, with poor to atrocious displays underpinning the failures that would ultimately lead to Koeman's dismissal at the end of October 2017.

But Schneiderlin fared no better under David Unsworth, being forced to deny reports that he was "sent away" from training on after less than a week under the new boss, as he affirmed his commitment to Everton.

The French international midfielder was omitted from David Unsworth's squad for the first home fixture against Watford, three days after he was sent off in Lyon for two bookable offences in the Blues' 3-0 defeat.

“The sending off was totally my fault. It was a stupid red card,” he would admit later. “When we got drawn against Lyons, I thought it was a good way for me to show myself for the France national team and it didn't happen. We got battered 3-0. I was frustrated. My mistake.

Speculation was rife that both Schneiderlin and Kevin Mirallas, also left out of the team, either walked out of training for failing to take it seriously or were told to leave by coach Duncan Ferguson if they couldn't knuckle down; but Schneiderlin rejects the reports.

Allardyce saw more in Schneiderlin than most did, including a large number of Everton fans who were continually frustrated by his lack of effort, accusing him of hiding in games, only passing sideways or backwards, and lacking commitment in the tackle. His defensive midfield pairing with Gana became a bellwether of the negativity brought to Everton's play by Allardyce's appointment as manager, producing a crescendo of boos from the Goodison faithful when the Frenchman was brought on as an 80th-minute substitute against Crystal Palace.

Schneiderlin later said the fans wrongly gained the impression that he was not dedicated to the club.

"It eats me like crazy because the most frustrating thing is that image is not myself," he said.

"I am an honest guy who works very, very hard. I can have a bad game, or a bad performance, but putting that on me that I don't give a shit, I don't care — that is not who I am."

Surprisingly, Morgan would survive the massive cull that would follow Allardyce's welcome departure and the even more welcome arrival of Brands and Silva, who would breath new life into Everton and, albeit briefly into Schneiderlin.

Schneiderlin says he feels comfortable with current Everton manager Marco Silva.

"I knew I had to work twice, maybe three times as hard as anyone else because I knew some people and some fans would see me in a different way," he said.

"That is what I said to the manager. I said I was prepared to do that and that was what I have done."

But it would be only a temporary reprieve until Andre Gomes was finally declared fit enough to play in mid-October and Schneiderlin found himself dropped from the first team.

FactFile

Squad number 2
Position Midfield
Nationality France
Born Zellwiller
Date of birth 8 November 1989
Height 6'-1" (1.85 m)
Joined 12 January 2017
Joined from Manchester United
Signed under Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee £20M (rising to £24M)
Contract duration 4½ years
Contract expires June 2021
Debut (Sub) v Manchester City (H)
15 January 2017
Full debut v Stoke City (A)
12 February 2017
Previous Clubs Strasbourg,
Southampton,
Manchester United
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry
» Transfermarkt

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2016-17 2 12 (2) 1 0 (0) 0 12 (2) 1
2017-18 2 24 (6) 0 10 (0) 0 34 (6) 0
2018-19 18 4 (3) 0 1 (1) 0 5 (4) 0
  Totals 40 (11) 1 11 (1) 0 51 (12) 1


Previous Career

Seasons Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2015-17 Manchester United 32 1
2008-15 Southampton 230 14
2006-08 Strasbourg 5 0



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