“I don’t want to be in front of the TV on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
This is a comment that Morgan Schneiderlin was quoted as telling a French publication and represents his latest hint that he wants to be plying his trade in the Champions League next season.
Despite Southampton’s above-expectation campaign, finishing in the top four now looks beyond them and keeping hold of Schneiderlin for a second successive summer looks a big ask, especially with Arsenal being linked for about the fifth time.
With Jack Cork having departed for Swansea, James Ward-Prowse not best used in a deep-lying double pivot and Harrison Reed far from the finished deal, Ronald Koeman may have to dip into the transfer market in order to find a suitable replacement and some competition for Victor Wanyama and Steven Davis.
Koeman proved himself adept in the transfer market last summer, with his first recruit being especially eye catching.
Few could argue that Dusan Tadic was the best player in the Eredivisie in the 2013/14 season, with his 16 goals and 14 assists for FC Twente helping them secure a Europa League place. If there was a better end product from teammates, they would certainly have been closer than eight points adrift of eventual champions Ajax.
Tadic had previously been spoken about in the same breath as Christian Eriksen and Kevin Strootman and both had received big moves. Yet, Tadic remained.
There was hardly a wealth of interest last summer either and it was only Koeman’s move to Southampton that sparked the prospect of a move. Koeman obviously knew him well from his spell as Feyenoord manager.
One question now is who will be the Tadic of the 2015 summer, slipping under the radar of almost every club despite clear ability?
Somewhat fortunately for the Saints, a prime candidate plays in Schneiderlin’s central midfield role for Mainz in the Bundesliga. His name is Johannes Geis.
Looking across Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, Geis is outperforming the likes of Raheem Sterling and Mateo Kovacic in the sense that he has created the most scoring chances for teammates among those players aged 21 or younger.
Geis does tend to operate as a holding midfielder, stitching together defensive discipline, an eye for a killer pass and an accurate set piece.
Having represented Germany at every age group from under-16 to under-21, it surely won’t be long until he is the latest young gun to be handed a full international cap, following on from the likes of Max Meyer, Erik Durm and Matthias Ginter in the last 12 months.
It is 1/2 that Geis gets full German cap in 2015 and 7/5 that his wait continues.
There has reportedly been some Bundesliga interest for his signature from Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach, but he does seem to remain a secret outside of Germany.
If there is a player to compare him to, Andrea Pirlo wouldn’t be the worst association, given the love of the pair to run a game like a quarterback, spraying long passes around the pitch.
If Koeman does have Geis on his radar, don’t be surprised to see Southampton completing a signing that others should have clearly had their eye on for the second summer running.