Soccer-Schneiderlin not for sale - at any price, say Southampton


By Ossian Shine

SOUTHAMPTON, England, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino can put away his cheque-book because the message is loud and clear - Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin is not for sale. At any price.

Former Saints manager Pochettino has been interested in the French international for some weeks, looking to bring the midfielder to Tottenham.

Bids ranging from 12 to 16 million pounds ($20-$26.54 million) have been widely reported, with speculation most recently centering on a swap deal with England winger Andros Townsend heading the other way as part of the arrangement.

But while Southampton may be keen on Townsend as an impact player at St Mary's to boost their firepower, Schneiderlin is central to manager Ronald Koeman's plans and will be going nowhere, as part of a deal or otherwise, the Dutchman said.

"For us the rumours about him have gone away," Koeman told reporters on Thursday when asked about the persistent talk of Schneiderlin's exit.

"He played a fantastic match for us against Liverpool, and how he has acted is fantastic."

Tottenham's interest in Schneiderlin came during something of an exodus at Southampton, when first team stars Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Luke Shaw all left - the first three for the deeper pockets of Liverpool and Shaw to Manchester United.

The churn of players seemed to unsettle Schneiderlin but with Koeman now at the Southampton helm, the Frenchman would now appear locked into the Saints set-up for another season.

"He showed his qualities last Sunday and we are happy to have him in our squad," Koeman said.

"Nothing depends on offers (for Schneiderlin) because he will stay in Southampton."

Koeman's insistence on Schneiderlin staying on the south coast does not necessarily spell the end of moves to bring Townsend to St Mary's however.

"Everything is possible," the Dutchman smiled, when quizzed about the possibility of a move for the speedy 23-year-old.

Southampton, beaten 2-1 at Liverpool in their season-opener on Sunday, welcome West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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