Morgan Schneiderlin’s Saints career hangs in the balance after he was axed from the squad for today’s final pre-season friendly against Bayer Leverkusen.
After seeing five of his former teammates sold this summer, Schneiderlin was furious to be told last week that he would not get his desired transfer away from the club, with Tottenham and former boss Mauricio Pochettino keen to sign him.
He quickly replied on social media, claiming his six years at Saints had been ‘destroyed’ in one hour, and behind the scenes he has continued to push for a move.
Koeman revealed it has culminated in a meeting yesterday morning between the player, the new manager and chairman Ralph Krueger at which it was agreed that Schneiderlin would play no part in the Leverkusen game.
It gives him the weekend to reflect on his situation before further talks on Monday.
However, if he still wishes to leave, it is an awkward position for Saints, who have publically stated they will not sell him.
Koeman said: “It’s not an easy situation, because I was a football player and moved from smaller clubs to bigger clubs. But, first of all, you have to know you signed a contract and you have to respect your contract.
“After that problem, you have to think on your own career, that’s the most important.
“For that we said to Morgan take two days off, think about the situation, because we will not change our minds, our decision. So we will see on Monday.”
When asked if he is angry or sympathetic towards Schneiderlin, Koeman replied; “No, I’m not so fussed, angry. Because there’s some different persons behind the player. Maybe Tottenham is pressing the player, maybe the agent is pressing the player. It’s a difficult situation.
“I understand that, I know from my experience how it works in this kind of situation, but we have to do what is the best for Southampton FC – that is my job, even that I, on one side, understand his situation. But I have to do the best for the club, what is the best for the team, and that is keeping these kind of players.”
Koeman was refusing to speculate on what would happen if, as expected given his current stance, Schneiderlin reaffirms his desire to leave on Monday.
“We will wait until Monday, because it’s not to give an answer now what will happen – we will see what will happen.”
It was put to Koeman that it could be seen as unfair on Schneiderlin that a host of players have been sold this summer after expressing a desire to leave, while the Frenchman will not be.
However, Koeman was unmoved and responded: “No, unfair is signing a new contract and like to go – that’s unfair.”
Koeman also admitted he had never had to deal with this situation before, but is keeping the door open for Schneiderlin.
“No, not like this,” he admitted. “Even the situation when Dejan started pre-season, we had a little bit this situation, but it was a little bit different now, because he was training, he had the same mind to like to move, and finally the club accepted the bid for Lovren.
“But we have to see and we will wait, because the player has to make that decision. We can help the player, and there is always a way back. He can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ today, but there is a way back for these kind of players, because I, as a manager, will do what the best is for the club.”