Channel NewsAsia

Football: Saints star Schneiderlin unsettled over transfer snub

Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal among clubs interested in 24-year-old France international player.

LONDON: Southampton manager Ronald Koeman admits France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is not in the right frame of mind to play for the club after being told he won't be allowed to join the St Mary's exodus.

Schneiderlin has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, but Koeman is determined to hang onto the 24-year-old following a series of star departures from the Premier League club since the end of last season. England internationals Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert have all been sold, along with Croatia defender Dejan Lovren.

With Southampton's squad being rebuilt and the club's prospects looking grim, Schneiderlin wants to leave. But he held talks with Koeman and Saints chairman Ralph Krueger on Friday and was again told he would not be sold.

Schneiderlin trained with his team-mates this week, but Koeman revealed he was too unsettled to feature in Saturday's friendly against Bayer Leverkusen.

"The situation is difficult, the player makes it difficult," Koeman said. "I spoke to him with our chairman and the situation has not changed -- we don't sell Schneiderlin and he has to accept that. It is not unfair. Unfair is signing a new contract and wanting to go, that's unfair. Tomorrow he is not in the squad. He said he is not physically and, even more, mentally prepared for tomorrow. If this is still the situation next week then Morgan has a big problem."

Schneiderlin, who joined the Saints as an 18-year-old in 2008, is understood to be keen on a move to White Hart Lane and a reunion with Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, with whom he enjoyed a close relationship at Southampton.

But Koeman added: "I'm not so much angry because there's some different influences around the player. Maybe Tottenham is pressing the player, maybe the agent is pressing the player -- it's a difficult situation. I understand that situation, I know from my experience how it works but we have to do what is the best for Southampton. That is my job and even if I, in some ways, understand his situation I have to do the best for the club and that is keeping these kind of players."

Meanwhile, Saints defender Jose Fonte won't be departing either after the 30-year-old signed a contract extension keeping him at St Mary's until 2017.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia