Having fended off summer interest in Morgan Schneiderlin and seen him help the club to second place in the Premier League standings, Southampton will be concerned to hear that the midfielder is heading back to England after picking up an injury while away on international duty with France.
Schneiderlin is nursing a groin complaint, with his national side deciding to return him to the St Mary’s for further tests.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “The French Football Federation announced that the Southampton midfielder this morning underwent a scan on a problem with his right adductor, and was subsequently declared unfit for next week’s game in Marseille.
“Schneiderlin, who played the final ten minutes of Les Bleus’ 1-1 draw with Albania at the Stade de France on Friday evening, will now return to Southampton for further assessment.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman will now be sweating on the involvement of a key figure in his plans for crucial upcoming fixtures.
The return of Euro 2016 qualifying has offered top-flight clubs a welcome break from domestic competition, but there is always the fear when packing star men off to link up with their country that they will not be returned in the same state of health as when they left.
That is now the case with Schneiderlin, with the clock ticking to eagerly-anticipated clashes with Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Koeman will be hoping to enter that testing run, through the end of November and early December, with the strongest possible squad at his disposal.
That will include Schneiderlin, a man who leads the way in all key areas for Southampton in the middle of the park this season.
|Position||Total Tackle||Won Tackle||Total Pass||Accurate Pass||Touches||Goals||Appearances||Mins Played|
The numbers above show just how vital Schneiderlin is to the cause, as he spends more time on the ball and works harder to get it back than any of those around him in the Saints’ engine room.
He is also the one generating the most headlines at present, with question marks over his long-term future on the south coast refusing to go away.
Schneiderlin has done little to curb the rumours by regularly expressing his desire to play for a ‘big club’ – with North London giants Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal reportedly leading the chase for his services - but for now his focus has to be on matters at Southampton and shaking off an untimely knock as quickly as possible.