If there was one thing that everyone learnt about Southampton last summer when all their top players seemed to be heading for the exit, it’s that they don’t panic under pressure. They have once again displayed that calmness during this window.
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(Images) Man United new boys Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin train on USA tour
Manchester United confirm signings of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger
Ronald Koeman’s men lost Morgan Schneiderlin, who was one of the remaining remnants that symbolised the Saints’ meteoric rise from the doldrums of League One, all the way to the top seven of the Premier League.
The Frenchman recently completed his £24m move to Manchester United (via Guardian). But, rather than field questions about how they would try to stave off what seemed an inevitable relegation, like Koeman did when he arrived last summer, they made sure that his replacement was younger, cheaper, but with just as much potential.
The Telegraph report that Feyenoord’s Jordy Clasie is close to agreeing a £7m move to St Mary’s, and could link up with former manager Koeman before the two sides meet in a pre-season friendly on July 23rd. The Telegraph report the fee could rise to £8.5m.
Considering the two players appear to be very similar, it could certainly be described as another shrewd bit of business from the side that – along with Swansea – have become the blueprint for how to achieve as much success without breaking the bank.
Both men sit in the holding midfield role, but offer more than the tough-tackling stereotype of someone that sits just in front of the defence. Clasie especially, has developed a reputation for a wonderful array of passing, which is hardly a surprise, but also high praise for someone that has grown up in the Netherlands, where Total Football was developed and perfected.
He also comes in as a candidate to be a captain of the south coast side one day. Currently, 31-year-old Jose Fonte wears the armband, so Koeman may be looking for a longer-term successor that the side can be built around as they try to smash through that ceiling that only boasts the top four, as well as Tottenham and Liverpool above it. Despite his diminutive stature, the 24-year-old is Feyenoord’s skipper, so may soon be able to take the role for his potential new club.
Given the measured approach they have taken to replace Schneiderlin, you get the feeling with Southampton that should Clasie become the next one off the conveyor belt, whether they come from the academy or elsewhere, his replacement will already be waiting in the wings.