Everton: what does Morgan Schneiderlin mean to club?


Morgan Schneiderlin is finally on his way to Everton to rejoin forces with manager Ronald Koeman who can be credited with getting the most out of the Frenchman.

As reported by the BBC, the fee is for a cool 24 million pounds, but how does the new midfield piece really fit in at Everton?

There is a reason that the Merseyside faithful are quite happy about capturing Schneiderlin and it is that assuming the midfielder returns to his Southampton form, Everton are suddenly capable of boasting a top-level Premier League midfield.

Morgan Schneiderlin will, of course, be paired with developing star Idrissa Gueye who has been destroying opposition midfield lives all season.  That destroying Gueye has been doing is to the tune of leading the Premier League in tackles per match by a wide margin according to whoscored.com.  His most frequent pairing has been grandpa Gareth Barry who, let’s face it, means defensively Gueye is almost on his own.  It has been admirable how well Gueye has held together the midfield, but now he will be offered some bona-fide help in the form of Schneiderlin.

So first stats and then a more practical application.  It is most useful to track back to the days of Schneiderlin roving the Southampton midfield as that is the last time he played with any consistency.  So the 2014/15 season, Schneiderlin played over 2,100 minutes almost all of them at a high rate.

His tackling would easily rank in the top five in tackling per match this season (in fact only behind new teammate Gueye and the tireless Jordan Henderson).  3.7 tackles per match is the exact total and when combined with what would be the 15th ranked interception rate this Premier League season, Schneiderlin is set to make an incredible impact.

Even his loan bright season with Manchester United, Schneiderlin ranked fairly highly in terms of interceptions per match so that stat is certainly a lock to continue.

Schneiderlin also has a good passing record while with Southampton to the tune of almost 90% and while that includes fewer than one key pass per match, Everton has recently had trouble in possession retention.  At the very least Schneiderlin will assist in not only winning the ball back but keeping the ball.  He isn’t a massive offensive threat, but as a deep-lying midfielder that won’t be his role with a gifted Everton attack ahead of him.

What these stats mean in a more on field, practical sense is that Morgan Schneiderlin covers some ground.  Again in a practical manner of speaking, Schneiderlin will impact things at all levels for Everton.

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For the defense, Schneiderlin, when combined with Gueye when he comes back from the Africa Cup of Nations will provide perhaps the most complete shield around the central defending pairing.  Not only will Ashley Williams and whoever else his partner will be better shielded, but the outside back pairing will able to get forward into the attack with greater frequency without fear. Everton is blessed with one of the most talented attacking pairings of outside backs in Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.  They have been pinned back with a weakened midfield pairing and Schneiderlin’s range will limit that to a greater degree.

The front prong of the attack will also benefit from the defensive work done by Schneiderlin.  The central attacking midfielder, Ross Barkley, in particular, will have his defensive load lighten.  The young man has come under fire recently for his lack of defensive intensity and willingness to track back and now with Schneiderlin his hopes and dreams will be realized.

Morgan Schneiderlin swallows up ground to the point that Everton fans will be drooling to have the combination of him and Gueye in the midfield.  Hopes will be renewed for a spot in Europe this season, perhaps not Champions League but certainly Europa League.

There is risk in the Schneiderlin signing and while I’ve painted a rosy picture the last year plus can’t be ignored.  While with Manchester United, Schneiderlin was nearly invisible.  His impact on a match was, at times, next to nothing and I went entire matches without realizing he was on the field.  Supporters of Schneiderlin will say it was the managing, but skeptics will tell you a star will shine through despite the manager.

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The hope for Everton has to be Ronald Koeman can get the best out of him much like he did at Southampton.  Everton is making a 24 million pound bet that can happen.