Are Arsenal and Tottenham chasing the wrong Southampton midfielder?

Southampton Football Club

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are linked with Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin but is the France international the right target?

The 24-year-old defensive midfielder is reportedly being pursued by North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham following an impressive display in the Premier League last term with Southampton. A season that led to the Frenchman being called up to the France squad for the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

The 5ft 11in midfielder can play in a central midfield or defensive midfield role. He arrived from Strasbourg in 2008 for just £1.2 million but is now linked with a move worth as much as £27 million, according to reports.

However, the Saints have another midfield enforcer in 23-year-old Kenya international Victor Wanyama who was previously linked with interest from the Gunners and Manchester United prior to his move to St Mary’s from Celtic last year for a fee of £12.5 million.

The 6ft 2in defensive midfielder can also function as a centre back and his performances in the Champions League with Celtic, most notably against Barcelona, caught the attention of the European elite. He is powerful, strong in the challenge and dominant in the air and combines technical excellence with stamina and determination.

Of the games he played a full 90 minutes for the Saints last term under Mauricio Pochettino, they lost just three compared to the seven they lost when Schneiderlin played for 90 minutes.

Whilst his performance in his debut season in England does not see him compete with Schneiderlin in terms of his average number of tackles and clearances, one could argue it takes time to adapt to a new club and a new league.

Meanwhile, his performances in 2012/13 for Celtic were more convincing than Schneiderlin’s last term – the Frenchman averaged 3.4 tackles and 1.5 clearances per game and achieved a pass completion rate of 89.4%. In his last season with Celtic, Wanyama averaged 4 tackles, 3.6 clearances per game and averaged a pass completion rate of 83.5%.

Whilst Morgan Schniederlin impressed last year, Wanyama is a more powerful and dominant player in almost every aspect of his role. He is more robust and more physically commanding than the Frenchman and, mentally, shows more determination and defensive focus than his Saints colleague.

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