Everton have belatedly completed their second signing of the January window with a deal for Manchester Utd midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
The France international joins the Toffees on a four-and-a-half-year deal for an initial fee of £20m that could go up to £24m with add-ons. The signing ends a long-running saga that was threatening to overshadow Everton’s transfer window.
Schneiderlin has made just three starts for Man United this season and Jose Mourinho had made it clear the former Southampton man could leave this month.
Everton have held a long-standing interest in the 27-year-old, who worked with manager Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s. West Bromwich Albion were also interested in signing the former Strasbourg player but Schneiderlin turned down a move to the Hawthorns in favour of a transfer to Everton.
772 - Morgan Schneiderlin has made more tackles and interceptions combined (772) than any other PL player since August 2012. Influence.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 11, 2017
Despite being in pole position the deal struggled to get over the line, Everton were unwilling to meet United’s upfront asking price of £24m. Conflicting reports claimed the midfielder completed his medical on Friday and said his goodbyes to his teammates even though the final fee was yet to be agreed on. These reports were later denied, with the confusion causing fume levels to rise among Evertonians on social media.
Koeman also expressed his frustration at the hold-up after Saturday’s FA Cup defeat against Leicester, making his feelings known to the club’s hierarchy. It appears they may have listened as a deal was finally agreed and Schneiderlin becomes Everton’s second January signing after Ademola Lookman.
Unlike teenager Lookman, Schneiderlin will be expected to make an immediate impact. With Idrissa Gueye on international duty with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations Schneiderlin may be pitched straight into the starting line-up for Sunday’s game against Man City.