Manchester United have reportedly received an official bid for out-of-favour midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
The French international is almost certain to be leaving Old Trafford in the next transfer window, and that has moved a step closer to becoming official as the Telegraph are reporting that West Bromwich Albion have made an £18m bid.
Everton were thought to be close to sealing a double move for Schneiderlin and fellow exile Memphis Depay – and while that could still turn out to be the case, West Brom have made an early move in order to steal a march on their rivals.
Indeed the report does state that Everton are still favourites, but the rival offer from West Brom will see them having to up their game considerably if they want to get that deal over the line.
West Brom have been something of a surprise package this season, occupying a top-half place and harbouring genuine aspirations of playing in Europe next season. Manager Tony Pulis has patently received the backing of the club’s new owners to make a big statement in the transfer market, and the signing of Schneiderlin would just do that.
The deal, should it go ahead, would surpass the £13m paid to Tottenham for Nacer Chadli last summer.
It would also bring an end to a deeply unhappy 18 months at Man United for Schneiderlin. Big things were expected of him when he joined from Southampton in a £24m deal in 2015, but he struggled for form in his maiden season under Louis van Gaal.
Things have become significantly worse for the 27-year-old since José Mourinho took over in the summer. He has yet to start a Premier League game under the new boss, playing a grand total of ten Premier League minutes this year, and from a position where he was knocking on the door of the French national team’s starting eleven, his reputation has taken something of a nosedive.
Everton are now likely to enter the race with a vengeance, but it all points to the same outcome – be it to the midlands or Merseyside, Schneiderlin is highly unlikely to be a Manchester United player when the January transfer window closes.