Morgan Schneiderlin is likely to leave Southampton this summer, but as one of the longest serving players in the dressing room, still possesses the power to shape how the fans will regard him when he leaves. If he conducts himself in the right manner, he would be remembered fondly for his years of service and wished all the best for the future. But the opposite is also true, with his departure potentially tainting his reputation on the south coast.
Last summer, Dejan Lovren proved that a player’s actions can result in a 180-degree turn in fans’ afflictions, after claiming that his head was “already at Liverpool”. Comments like this would certainly sour the relationship between Schneiderlin and the St Mary’s faithful, and he should take caution from last summer, where his tweet angered some fans. The Frenchman is much more likely to retain the favour of Southampton fans with a more reserved approach.
Another way that Schneiderlin could avoid the wrath of Saints fans is by leaving abroad, or to Champions League club. For the past few seasons, Saints fans have called for the midfielder’s inclusion in the French national team, whilst also acknowledging that he belongs at the highest level. Certainly, few Saints fans would begrudge Schneiderlin a chance to prove himself at this higher level, given that he moves to a club where he will play regularly. If he moves to a Manchester City, sits on the bench and picks up his wages, Saints fans may be slightly less inclined to remember him fondly, perhaps even branding him a mercenary. If he does stay in England, a move to a Champions League club is imperative, as anything else will seem a side-step. A move to Spurs, with whom he has been heavily linked, although it would reunite him with old boss Maurico Pochettino, would not supply Schneiderlin with the Champions League football that he has express his desire for. Added to that, the rivalry between Saints and Spurs is increasing, so it would be unlikely that Saints fans would forgive a move to White Hart Lane. With a move abroad, supporters will have the peace of mind that, barring an unlikely Europa League draw, he will not be able to punish Saints on the pitch.
As one of the longest serving players at Southampton, second only to Kelvin Davis, Morgan Schneiderlin should be remembered for the service that he has provided to the club. He has been the heartbeat of the team throughout its meteoric rise from League One to (potentially) European football and, provided he conducts himself in the right manner, will be fondly remembered by supporters.