As The Commodores would probably validate, there is nothing much better than being ‘easy like Sunday morning’, which might be an indication as to the feelings Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling must have experienced yesterday morning. For these two, Sunday morning represented the proverbial ‘calm before the storm’, whilst they were preparing their respective moves to genuine title contenders.
In Sterling’s case, Liverpool and Manchester City finally came to an agreement and the transfer fee for the young England international was set at €61 million. The winger will certainly have to live up to the expectation of being City’s club-record transfer and will arguably have to deliver more than previous record transfer Sergio Aguero, who joined the club for €45 million in 2011. Sterling heads to Manchester with a decent Premier League record of 18 goals and 21 assists in 95 appearances.
Without a doubt, age is one of the reasons for the inflated price, and the 20-year old will have enough resell value, unless he goes down the same route as Jack Rodwell or Scott Sinclair, both of whom also joined City at a young age and with a reputation of being exceptional English talents. Nevertheless, Sterling is a much more household name already and he is expected to improve the overall quality of the squad.
As for Liverpool, this deal represents yet another financial coup, after similar transactions involving Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez. Arguably, the departure of Sterling will be less painful than that of those two, as the youngster was yet to become an irreplaceable puzzle piece on Merseyside. Despite the positive commercial implications of this deal, Liverpool have often been accused of misspending income from transfer dealings, with the example of Andy Carroll only the tip of the iceberg. However, as we have extensively reported already, the Liverpool faithful can be content with player additions during the current transfer window and it now seems as though, there is more to come.
Only about 35 miles away from Liverpool, Manchester United have also made some significant moves in the transfer market, and the addition of Bayern Munich legend Bastian Schweinsteiger was only one highlight of the weekend, as it now turns out that the Red Devils have agreed a fee of about €33 million with Southampton regarding the long-awaited transfer of France international Morgan Schneiderlin. Similar to Sterling, 25-year old Schneiderlin comes with the experience of 95 Premier League appearances, with 11 goals and three assists to his name. In fact, the French midfielder had been at Southampton since 2008 and helped the club to ultimately make their way from England’s third tier to the Premier League.
Although the holding midfielder has been most impressive in his position during the last two Premier League campaigns, playing at a club like Manchester United comes with a degree of pressure, the Frenchman has yet to experience. As such, paying a sum of €33 million for a fairly inexperienced 25-year old might even be considered more risky than paying €61 million for a 20-year old talent.
At Old Trafford, Schneiderlin will have to compete with the likes of Carrick, Herrera and Schweinsteiger for a spot in the starting eleven. All of the above have the benefit of more experience and more success at this level, which might hinder the French midfielder from progressing at the expected speed. Despite the worries, Schneiderlin is certainly a high-quality addition to Manchester United’s squad and the club seem like they have genuinely addressed their holding midfielder worries in one eventful weekend. The team will no longer have to solely rely on Michael Carrick and suffer in his absence, but will be able to provide enough cover and more than just adequate competition. In addition to this, Schneiderlin’s purchase is yet another indication for United’s shift to a game of passing and patience.