One can only wonder what would have happened to Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs, had Daniel Levy been able to secure his number one transfer target Joao Moutinho.
History has a habit of repeating itself. Mauricio Pochettino’s number one target during the summer was his former Southampton midfield general Morgan Schneiderlin, but while the Saints sold off most of their other best players, Tottenham were unable to persuade them to part with the Frenchman so easily.
Pochettino was appointed as Spurs boss at the end of May 2014, yet a bid for Schneiderlin was not forthcoming until late July, by which point Southampton had already sold a number of players. You’d assume that having managed him, that Pochettino would have known that he wanted Schneiderlin from the moment he arrived. So what took so long?
When a bid did finally arrive it was for just £10m and was labelled derisory by the Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger. The Saints had got top dollar for the likes of Callum Chambers, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw, so quite why Tottenham thought a £10m bid was going to do anything but antagonise the club they wanted to do business with, is anyone’s guess.
Had Spurs moved quickly and paid over the odds as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United had to when they bought players from Southampton, then Schneiderlin would probably be at White Hart Lane now. Instead they deliberated and only acted just as Southampton were drawing their summer sale to a close.
The player was certainly keen on a move and indeed tried to force one without success. Word also had it that he preferred the idea of linking up with Pochettino again rather than moving to Arsenal.
It’s been reported today that Schneiderlin may now be set to join Arsenal, though as the source is The Secret Footballer’s Twitter account, perhaps Tottenham still have a chance. With Manchester United also said to be interested in the midfielder though, you have to wonder if Spurs’ time has passed.
The other Southampton player that Tottenham have been linked with since Pochettino’s arrival is Jay Rodriguez. No bid has yet been forthcoming for Rodriguez due to the fact that he has been out with an injury since last April.
Rodriguez is now back in training with the Saints but has not yet made his return to action. The forward would have surely been part of the bidding frenzy that hit Southampton this summer if not injured and it’s likely that interest will be stepped up in the forward as soon as he’s proved to be fit.
This presents a dilemma for Spurs. Bid early for Rodriguez and take a gamble on his fitness? Or wait and risk other suitors – Manchester City and Liverpool are said to be interested– stealing a march?
Knowing Tottenham it will be the latter. In the specific case of Rodriguez it might be for the best, as only time will tell as to whether he can regain his old sharpness, but in general a habit of not signing the players that a manager wants is only going to cause long-term problems.