Schneiderlin: This was the moment that kept me at Southampton

Morgan Schneiderlin has spoken about the protracted transfer saga which nearly saw him leave Southampton to join Tottenham Hotspur.

Morgan Schneiderlin said that the instant that he heard Southampton fans clapping and chanting his name in the first game of the season against Liverpool he knew he would stay at the club.

The French midfielder was embroiled in one of the transfer windows most notable fall-outs, when he appeared to be trying to force a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

And Schneiderlin says that the reason he wanted that move so badly was because he had been planning to leave St. Mary's since February.

However, after discussions, he was told he would be staying and it caused an almightily dispute between player at club.

The central-midfielder took to Twitter to announce his displeasure at the club's decision to keep him, whilst Southampton stood firm in their opinion that he would not be sold - regardless of the cost.

As a result, Schneiderlin could easily have turned the supporters against him but, instead, he was given a rapturous reception when he turned out an Anfield by the Saints fans and that was when he realised he had to stay. 

"There was interest from clubs – three clubs and Tottenham were among them," he said to Sky Sports.

“Since February/March, my agents and I had talked with Southampton about a possible departure. The club always told me they would sell for the right price.

“My agents and I went to that meeting on July 29 in a peaceful state of mind, with exciting propositions. To me, with my six years at Southampton and everything I had given to the club, everything should have been sorted that day.

“I told them I signed for a project that was supposed to keep the best elements in order to go higher. Before that meeting, (Adam) Lallana, (Dejan) Lovren, (Rickie) Lambert, Luke Shaw and (Calum) Chambers all left. I said to myself: ‘This is not the same situation, this is not possible. What are they doing?’ At that moment, Southampton hadn’t signed anyone.

“Chambers signed for Arsenal the day before our meeting and the club saw the fans getting mad. They thought: ‘If Morgan leaves the stadium will be burnt’. So they told us: ‘Morgan is not for sale, we won’t listen to anything. That is the decision and there is nothing more to say’.

“It was a real shock to me. Of course I was angry. I thought: ‘I just played in the World Cup after two good seasons in the Premier League. I never say anything, but I can’t stay in a team that plays for survival. I need to reach a new level’. So I told them: ‘You don’t respect me and you don’t respect your words, you treat me like cattle’. They defended their interests and I defended mine.

“After I refused to play the friendly against Leverkusen on August 9, the chairman came to speak to me and let me have the weekend to think about things.

“I talked to a lot of people. Some told me to go on strike, that the club will finally give up. My agents never said that, they just told me to make a decision.

“I felt that the officials wouldn’t let me leave, that they would rather leave me on the sidelines for six months. So I resumed training because I really needed to play football again.

“I played against Liverpool at Anfield and all the Southampton fans applauded me and chanted my name. It was so heart-warming. I knew then I would spend the whole season at Southampton."

Since deciding to stay Schneiderlin has become a key figure in a Southampton side who have impressed hugely this season.

Although they lost their most recent fixture to Spurs, Ronald Koeman's men have made a fine start and actually seem to have improved as a result of their summer dealings.

The side are in the top four, as things stand, and Schneiderlin is now hoping to break into the Champions League with the side he nearly left in the summer. 

“Maybe now we will achieve something amazing here. Champions League qualification would be fantastic. I hope to play in the Champions League one day, of course. I want to play every three days. But why not play in the Champions League with Southampton?”

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