Morgan Schneiderlin, Jay Rodriguez and Tottenham: Discussion 3

It seems that we’re not quite done with the Southampton departures yet, with the Press Association and now multiple sources claiming that Tottenham are close to deals for both Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez.

There are no reports yet on the fee, but given how Southampton have negotiated during this transfer-window you would expect it to be very large indeed - as recently as last week the South Coast club were reported to have set an asking price of £26m for Schneiderlin alone, so either Spurs are going to be spending a lot of money or this deal will include some kind of exchange.

Rodriguez is an obvious fit; Mauricio Pochettino seems very keen on employing a fluid front-four of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado and one other, and Rodriguez is the kind of left-sided player who could really add some symmetry and balance to that unit.

Lamela - on the basis of what he’s done in pre-season - is being encouraged off his wing and into central areas, and that is essentially the mirror image of Rodriguez’s role at Southampton last season.  If Tottenham can bring him to White Hart Lane, they would then possess two wide-forwards who are stylistically very similar - and that does seem to make a lot of sense tactically.  Two players with similar tendencies, both capable of drifting in and around the forward-line, both theoretically capable of switching positions with each other.

It feels right and it seems to tally with what Pochettino is trying to create.

Schneiderlin, on the other hand, is not a duplication of resources and he would represent a move away from a particular type of midfield play.  His ball-retrieval ability is excellent - check his interception/successful tackle statistics from the past two seasons - and he’s a reliable and accurate passer of the ball.  That signing, at a guess, is probably an attempt by Pochettino to both add some rhythm to that area of the side and stock it with a bit more defensive intelligence.  Schneiderlin’s defensive numbers aren’t an anomaly, he really is an outstanding reader of a game and he’s probably better without the ball than any current holding-midfielder at Spurs.

What are the potential implications?  Probably that Sandro is on the verge of being sold - a decision which feels premature and wasteful - and that one or two fringe attacking-midfielders will also heading away either permanently or on-loan.  Rodriguez is still recovering from serious injury, so don’t expect Tottenham to clear the decks completely in that area, but you would imagine that a sale or two will now be necessary.

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