Koeman on Schneiderlin’s Saints absence: He’s making it difficult

With Tottenham still said to be interested in the Frenchman, Southampton are left with a tricky situation with just a week before the Premier League begins.

Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Spurs target Morgan Schneiderlin has told Southampton that he is "not mentally or physically ready to play", ahead of the club's final preseason friendly this weekend.

The France international trained with the rest of the Southampton squad this week, but the news once again throws his Saints career in jeopardy, especially considering Schneiderlin criticised the club on social media on the day chairman Ralph Krueger originally said he would not be sold.

The midfielder has been given the weekend off by Koeman to "consider his future", meaning he will miss the match with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

There may not be much considering for him to do, with the former Feyenoord boss explaining that the club continue to refuse sanction his departure.

Koeman clearly held Schneiderlin accountable for exacerbating the situation, though did claim to understand the former Strasbourg player's concerns to a degree.

"The situation is difficult, the player makes it difficult," Koeman told BBC Sport.

"I spoke to him with our chairman and the situation has not changed - we don't sell Schneiderlin and he has to accept that.

"Tomorrow he is not in the squad. He said he is not physically and, even more, mentally prepared for tomorrow. On one side I can understand that. We told him to take the weekend off and think about the situation."

"He will continue as a football player of Southampton. Now it is up to him."

It remains to be seen if the Frenchman's reluctance to turn out for his club is a genuine problem that could be solved or an attempt to force Southampton into a transfer.

Having seemingly had his heart set on a move to Tottenham and their former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino, it still looks like any switch is a long way off.

If Schneiderlin does in fact take his refusal to play further and miss large parts of the season, it will be bad news for all involved. Southampton would see his value deteriorate, ahead of an inevitable sale either in January or next summer, while the player would stagnate without games, a huge shame considering the 24-year-old is playing the best football of his career, and had broken into the France team for the World Cup this summer.

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