United have announced that they have signed French international midfield player Morgan Schneiderlin from Southampton. Stories have been circulating for weeks about United’s interest in the player and after word that interest from Arsenal, his other suitor, had cooled it seemed that a move to United was increasingly likely. Despite that development the deal has taken some time to finalise with reports that the two clubs were negotiating about the fine detail of the transfer deal and bonus payment connected with future achievements.

Now 25 years of age, Schneiderlin joined Southampton in 2008 at the age of 18 having moved up through the youth ranks of his local club RC Strasbourg. He has represented France at all levels, making his full debt in 2014. He now has 14 caps.

Schneiderlin in action for France

Schneiderlin in action for France

After an initial relegation set back at Southampton he moved through the divisions and has been a major factor in the club establishing themselves in the Premier League. He has been trusted and thrived under several managers and has been a mainstay of their side in recent years.

After an initial relegation set back at Southampton he moved through the divisions and has been a major factor in the club establishing themselves in the Premier League. He has been trusted and thrived under several managers and has been a mainstay of their side in recent years.

A right footed defensive midfield player, Schneiderlin is widely regarded as one of the hardest working players in the Premier League. He regularly records the most tackles and interceptions and for several years has been the engine of Southampton’s hard pressing game. Critically in the last three seasons he has reserved some of his best performances for games against United and so follows a long line of players signed by the club following impressive displays against the Reds, (Cantona, Yorke, Ronaldo in a pre-season friendly and more recently Ander Herrera in a Europa League tie).

Under Ronald Koeman last year Schneiderlin often fulfilled a slightly more advanced box-to-box role, a flexibility that will no doubt have endeared him to a manager who values “multi-functional” players. But it is as an alternative defensive midfield player that it is anticipated he will more usually be used. In this he can be seen as an alternative to Michael Carrick, a player who’s absences through injury in the last twelve months have seen United Struggle. Perhaps he doesn’t have the range of creative passing as Carrick, but he is a different type of defensive midfield player; a dynamic organiser who will break up play, organise and direct the press and set the tempo of the game. The regular use of pressing is a relatively new tactic to United and one teams need to learn over a period of time. In signing Schneiderlin Van Gaal has chosen a player experienced in this tactics who can help speed up that learning curve.

Morgan Schneiderlin, welcome to Old Trafford.