Manchester United closed the transfer window just how Jose Mourinho said they would- no new arrivals and no senior departures. The likes of James Weir and Will Keane did end up at Hull- however, links touting Morgan Schneiderlin’s potential departure for Spurs ended up being firmly dismissed by the club, showing faith in the Frenchman who wasn’t favoured by Louis van Gaal.
On the face of it, Schneiderlin’s departure for Spurs would make sense. He was managed by Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton, where he played great football and became a staple of Pochettino’s side. He seems unfavored by Jose Mourinho (strange, because he is a wonderful footballer) and Spurs was looking for a midfielder. However, looking closer at it, the move made no sense.
Spurs has struck a great midfield balance with Moussa Dembele, Eric Dier, and Dele Alli already, and the latter two have massive potential. Meanwhile, the likes of Victor Wanyama and Moussa Sissoko have joined the club, adding depth, pace, and versatility in abundance. For Spurs to add Schneiderlin now would represent the addition of another midfielder who doesn’t add much more- he’s better than the aforementioned five when on form, but the potential of Dier and Alli currently outweighs the instant addition of quality that would come with Schneiderlin.
In addition, United doesn’t have a traditional shuttling ball-winner in midfield. The new-look Marouane Fellaini is a strict defensive midfielder with attacking deficiencies. Michael Carrick wins the ball with his intelligence and dictates the tempo of United’s football. Ander Herrera is a buzzing source of energy and light moving forward and uses the same energy to win the ball back with tackles and interceptions. Paul Pogba uses world class flair and technique to use the ball in incredible ways moving forward while combining physicality and intelligence to win the ball back and move it into advanced areas.
Midfield and attacking midfield are the positions in which both United and Spurs have the greatest depth, which makes it tough to understand why either would even bother in such an exchange. I’m a believer that it’s only a matter of time before Morgan Schneiderlin becomes an absolute staple in Mourinho’s midfield, but even if he doesn’t, he still has incredible ability and is willing to stay around and fight for his place.
Mourinho chose the five players he wanted in midfield for a reason, and, to reiterate, it is senseless to think he would try to change that on the last day of the transfer window. If Mourinho believes Carrick, Herrera, Schneiderlin and/or Fellaini are good enough to partner Pogba at the highest level, the only change will be for Carrick, and it will hopefully be Timothy Fosu-Mensah who takes his place.
Barring Carrick, United only needs to change the midfield options if Mourinho feels the need to add another midfielder for the Champions League next season; in which case, one of Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera, and Marouane Fellaini will need to move on, or there will be no replacement for Carrick. Schneiderlin’s potential departure is only one of many potential future storylines around United’s midfield, which seems settled and balanced for the first time in years.