Southampton had a very inconsistent and tumultuous campaign last season. Losing to those around them one week before giving the Premier League’s big boys some of the toughest match-ups they experienced last season.
And while all that was going on there was the small matter of a bizarre but in the end forgiven managerial change.
But at the of the day they survived relegation and throughout all the turmoil there remained one constant; Morgan Schneiderlin.
The Frenchman has bizarrely appeared to get better and better with each jump in league status from League One to the Premier League via the Championship.
Last season the Frenchman truly came of age in the holding midfield role at St Marys winning the 2012-13 Southampton Player of the Year; and he had the stats to back it up.
Only Lucas Leiva had a better tackles per game ratio (4.7) than Schneiderlin’s and when it came to interceptions per game the Southampton man led the pile; essentially giving him a statistical case to claim he was the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League last season.
And the man himself, who signed a new contract in February this year, has promised that better is yet to come next season:
‘’Last year I had a good season, but I know that I can do better,"
Yet Southampton’s ambitious transfer activities perhaps indicate that there is more than just rumour behind the interest of Arsenal and Inter Milan.
Because the Spanish manager, who still hasn’t learned English (come on Mauricio Pep learned German in five months), has made it clear two of the three players he wants this summer; and they both play in Morgan’s position.
"We manage a lot of information about very good players. One of them is Damiao, also Banega and also Wanyama…We are not interested in 15 or 20 players. We are interested in maybe two or three key players."
Banega and Wanyama are both similar players to Schneiderlin and whilst signing one of them to bolster the midfield area seems a wise decision; both of them seems slightly excessive from the ex-Espanyol gaffer.
Does it mean Schneiderlin is up for grabs; who knows?
But it certainly seems bizarre to target two new players in the area easily your best is currently operating.
Is Pochettino simply looking for depth? Or cover?
image: © Living In Pixels