Sport Soccer

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Saints reaffirm Schneiderlin stance

Published 08/08/2014 | 16:40

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Morgan Schneiderlin will not feature for Southampton against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman says Morgan Schneiderlin is not in the right frame of mind to play against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday but insists the midfielder will not be sold.

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The France midfielder held talks with Koeman and Saints chairman Ralph Krueger on Friday morning where he was again told he would not be allowed to leave.

Schneiderlin trained with his team-mates this week, albeit spending two days separately as he regains fitness following an extended rest after the World Cup.

"The situation is difficult, the player makes it difficult," Koeman said.

"I spoke to him with our chairman and the situation has not changed - we don't sell Schneiderlin and he has to accept that.

"Tomorrow he is not in the squad. He said he is not physically and, even more, mentally prepared for tomorrow.

"On one side I can understand that. We told him to take the weekend off and think about the situation.

Koeman added: "He will continue as a football player of Southampton. Now it is up to him."

Schneiderlin has attracted strong interest from Tottenham and Arsenal this summer and the 24-year-old has expressed his anger at not being allowed to join other key players in leaving St Mary's.

Saints defender Jose Fonte will not be departing. The 30-year-old has signed a new contract until 2017 and he hopes Schneiderlin will also remain at the club.

"It is very simple. Schneiderlin is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League," said Fonte, who will also captain the team on the pitch this season.

"As a teammate I always want him in front of me - he has more interceptions and more tackles than anyone else and he runs miles.

"He is a great player. As the manager says, it is a difficult situation.

"For us, we want him in the team and we will do everything we can to make him happy so he stays here and achieves great things."

Southampton have taken steps towards replacing those who have left with the signings of Saphir Taider, Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle and Ryan Bertrand.

Saints are chasing Argentina and Sporting Lisbon defender Marcos Rojo, while a deal is understood to be close for Steaua Bucharest defender Florin Gardos.

"We are interested in Gardos but until now they haven't told me it is signed or done - but we are interested, that is true," Koeman said.

"We are interested in Rojo but the transfer is a question for the chairman and (executive director) Les Reed.

"These two players are both on our list."

Southampton have let six first-team players go so far this summer and Koeman admits the squad needs bolstering ahead of their Barclays Premier League opener against Liverpool.

"It is not about a specific number but we need more competition in the squad than we have now," Koeman said.

"Maybe one, maybe two, maybe three because we have to be prepared.

"I'm very happy about the quality in the squad but the season in the Premier League is long and we need more players of Premier League level to have real competition.

"To achieve that more players will come into the team."

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