Wednesday 18 September 2019

Man United close to offloading underperforming star for £24m in January deal

Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin
Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin

James Ducker and John Percy

Morgan Schneiderlin’s miserable 18-month spell at Manchester United is nearing an end with Everton moving closer to signing the France midfielder in a permanent deal.

Everton are in talks about bringing Schneiderlin to Goodison Park with United hopeful of agreeing a package that will see them recoup the £24 million they paid Southampton for the 27-year-old in July last year.

Schneiderlin has not started a Premier League game for United this season after being frozen out under manager Jose Mourinho and has come to accept his interests will be best served by a move.

West Bromwich Albion were also interested in Schneiderlin but Everton are in pole position to sign the Frenchman, who is keen to reunite with Ronald Koeman, who managed him at Southampton.

Koeman regards Schneiderlin as a quality long-term replacement for Gareth Barry, the 35-year-old former England midfielder, and Everton are willing to meet the player’s £120,000 a week wages in addition to funding a significant transfer fee. It is unlikely United will receive a flat fee of £24 million but with add ons the total package could be around that total.

United beat off competition from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal to sign Schneiderlin under Louis van Gaal but the midfielder struggled to hold down a regular first team place and has found himself on the periphery since Mourinho succeeded the Dutchman in May.

Schneiderlin has played just 11 minutes in the Premier League this term and has even fallen behind Bastian Schweinsteiger in the pecking order, despite the German World Cup winner being written off as an asset in the club’s annual accounts in the expectation that he would not play until he was sold.

Yet Schweinsteiger has recently been brought back into the fold by Mourinho, even if the expectation is that the midfielder will still leave in the transfer window next month or, failing that, next summer amid strong interest from Major League Soccer clubs.

Schneiderlin has Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in addition to Schweinsteiger ahead of him for the midfield positions and hopes to revive his flagging career on Merseyside.

Everton are also interested in signing United winger Memphis Depay on loan until the end of the season as a short-term replacement for Yannick Bolasie, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a serious knee ligament injury, but securing Schneiderlin has been the priority.

Mourinho admitted yesterday that he would not stand in the way of Schneiderlin or Depay if they asked to leave. “I am always open to listen to offers for every player,” the United manager said. “More than listen to offers, I am always ready to listen to the players themselves. So any player who knocks on my door and is not happy and wants to move, when the offers are correct, I will never stop a player from leaving even if it is to a rival.”

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