Southampton are pushing Manchester United to complete the signing of Morgan Schneiderlin this week as they do not want to miss out on their first‑choice replacements for the midfielder.
Talks are ongoing between the two clubs with Southampton hoping that United will meet their asking price of £25 million for the French international, who has also attracted interest from Arsenal and, in the past, Tottenham Hotspur. Feyenoord’s Jordy Clasie and Anderlecht’s Dennis Praet are the two players identified by Southampton, who fear they may lose out if United continue to delay formally bidding for Schneiderlin.
Southampton know that Zenit St Petersburg are interested in Praet, 21, should they, as expected, sell fellow Belgium international Alex Witsel to AC Milan this week. The Premier League club are also concerned that rivals may move quickly to sign Clasie who would appear to be their preferred choice to take over from Schneiderlin.
Clasie, a 23-year-old Dutch international, worked with the Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, at Feyenoord and is keen to move to the Premier League.
United have been in talks to sign Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern Munich and have received encouragement that the Germany international, 31, wants to join them. It is unclear whether United would continue to pursue Schweinsteiger should they bring in Schneiderlin.
Louis van Gaal, the United manager, regards as his key signing this summer the acquisition of a right-footed ‘No 6’ who can control the midfield.
There were claims on Saturday that Schneiderlin, 25, had agreed a four-year deal to join United, although a fee had yet to be finalised, but they are understood to be premature even if a line of communication has been opened.
No formal bid is understood to have been submitted with United having registered their interest. However, talks may have been accelerated in the past 48 hours with Southampton’s squad due to report back for pre-season training on Monday.
United remain interested in signing Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid, having had a bid of more than £30 million rejected, and are hoping the unsettled defender will make public his desire to leave.
United may even refuse to sell goalkeeper David de Gea to Real if the Spanish club continue to refuse to allow Ramos to leave.