The Toffees are close to boosting their numbers once again with a second acquisition in the January transfer window in the space of a week.
Everton are edging closer to completing their second signing of the January transfer window.
The Toffees have already captured the signature of promising teenage forward Ademola Lookman, 19, for £11 million from League One side Charlton Athletic.
And boss Ronald Koeman is set to bolster his midfield ranks in the form of Manchester United’s Morgan Schneiderlin, who has reportedly undergone a medical ahead of a £22 million move.
The highly-rated Frenchman has found opportunities at Old Trafford hard to come by since his £25 million move from Southampton – where he previously played under Koeman – in the summer of 2015.
Speaking in his press conference after United’s 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Hull City on Tuesday, Mourinho said of Schneiderlin’s imminent departure: “I’m sad and I’m happy. I’m sad because I like him and he could be an option for us in a long season.
“I’m happy because this is what he wants, he wants to play every game and wants to be an important player in the team.
“If this is what he wants I’m happy for a very good professional and someone that I can only say good things about.”
Schneiderlin made 39 appearances in his first season with the Reds under Louis van Gaal but has only made three starts and five substitute appearances this term under Mourinho.
He would still have stiff competition, however, should he make the switch to Goodison Park – battling for a starting berth with Ross Barkley, Idrissa Gueye, James McCarthy, Tom Cleverley and Gareth Barry.
Everton are currently seventh in the Premier League, with 30 points from 20 games, but 12 points adrift of the top four.
England’s Mark Clattenburg will complete an unprecedented refereeing treble in Paris on Sunday.
ENGLISH referee Mark Clattenburg will take charge of the Euro 2016 Final between France and Portugal, Uefa has confirmed.
The 41-year-old has been appointed as the referee on Sunday when the host nation contest the showpiece against the Euro 2004 runners-up at the Stade de France in Paris (KO 20:00 BST).
Clattenburg – who regularly officiates high-profile Premier League games – completes an unlikely and remarkable treble in the space of two months after handling the FA Cup and Champions League finals respectively.
However, the recognition is fully deserved for the Newcastle-based whistler, who has performed to a high standard so far in his three games at the tournament – his first major international finals as a referee.
He will be ably assisted again in the French capital by linesmen Simon Beck and Jake Collin, and additional assistants Anthony Taylor and Andre Marriner.
It also means Taylor has completed an unprecedented quadruple of being the only additional assistant referee to officiate at all four of Uefa’s major finals – Champions League, Europa League, Euros and Super Cup.
The fourth official will be Hungary’s Viktor Kassai – who handled the tournament opener and was also fourth official for May’s Champions League Final – while fellow countryman Gyorgy Ring will be on standby as the reserve assistant.
Clattenburg is hugely supported and highly rated by Uefa’s head of referees Pierluigi Collina but is thought to be largely out of favour with the English Football Association, who don’t think he is the country’s leading official.
But David Elleray, the FA Referees’ Committee chairman, believes the appointment is deserved and his “astonishing” achievements highlight that England is the number one country in international refereeing terms.
He said: “One of the reasons that English referees are appointed to the world’s major finals is that they work as part of a very strong referee team – no referee can be successful without top quality assistants and, for Uefa competitions, additional assistant referees.
“I am sure everyone in football will wish Mark and his team every success on Sunday – I am sure they will perform in a way which enhances the final.”
The trained electrician – who supports Newcastle United – has a wealth of experience of high-profile encounters having refereed the 2012 League Cup Final, 2012 Olympic men’s football gold medal match, 2013 Community Shield and 2014 Uefa Super Cup.
The only potential obstacles preventing Clattenburg from being appointed was England – who were dumped out by minnows Iceland in the last 16 – and Wales.
He appears to have beaten off competition from Kassai, Milorad Mazic of Serbia, and Slovenia’s Damir Skomina – the only other referees remaining at the tournament who did not receive a semi-final.
Didier Deschamps’ France have already secured a last 16 berth after late victories over Romania and Albania, while Switzerland have taken four points from their first two games against the same opponents.
Meanwhile, Czech referee Pavel Kralovec will be in charge of the other Group A encounter between Romania and Albania in Lyon.
The 38-year-old has been appointed to his second game of the tournament when the two sides meet at the Olympique Lyonnais (KO 20:00 BST, live on BBC Four).
Scottish whistler Willie Collum will oversee France’s second Euro 2016 game against Albania in Group A while Slovenia’s Damir Skomina and Sergei Karasev of Russia receive their first matches of the tournament.
SCOTTISH referee Willie Collum has received his first appointment as man in the middle at Euro 2016.
The 37-year-old will take charge of host nation France’s second Group A match against Albania in Marseille on Wednesday, June 15 (KO 20:00 BST, live on BBC One).
Collum was the fourth official for Sunday’s encounter in Group D between Turkey and Croatia in Paris.
But it will be a different pressure at the Stade Velodrome for the Religious Education teacher from Belshill, north Lanarkshire.
Although he wasn’t selected for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he made the cut for Euro 2016 after impressing on the European stage in the last two seasons.
The Koper-born whistler, who was a fourth official at Euro 2008 and for the 2013 Champions League Final at Wembley, has been on the Uefa Elite Category list since 2009-10 and refereed Chelsea’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Benfica in 2011.
Among his other highlights were handling the 2007 U21 European Championship Final, officiating at the 2008 Olympic Games and taking charge of Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the 2012 Super Cup.
He was also described as ‘weak and naive’ by then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho for denying his side a penalty in their goalless draw with Dynamo Kiev last October.
Skomina – who can also speak Italian and English – regularly oversees European matches involving British teams, with his confident but no-nonsense approaching earning him many admirers.
He will be assisted by fellow countrymen Jure Prapotnik and Robert Vukan, and additional assistants Matej Jug and Slavko Vinčić.
Sweden’s Jonas Eriksson is the fourth official, with his compatriot Mathias Klasenius the reserve assistant.
Russian referee Sergei Karasev will appear at his first major international tournament for the first time to oversee Romania’s Group A clash with Switzerland.
The 37-year-old will take charge at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Wednesday, June 15 (KO 17:00 BST, live on BBC One).
Fellow countrymen Nikolai Golubev and Tikhon Kalugin are the assistant referees and Sergey Lapochkin and Sergei Ivanov will be the additional assistants referees.
Aleksei Kulbakov, from Belarus, is the fourth official while compatriot Vitali Maliutsin completes the officiating team as reserve assistant.
Karasev has become an established name with regular Champions League and Europa League appointments since becoming a permanent fixture on the Fifa list in 2010.
The Moscow-born lawyer, who reached Uefa Elite Category level in 2012, is known for his excellent fitness levels and often lenient approach, as he boasts one of the lowest card averages among the 18 Euro 2016 referees.
Karasev, whose birthday was on June 12, will hope to impress in his 50th international match as a referee in the hope he can prolong his stay in France ahead of his second tournament of the summer at the Olympics.
He will be one of 15 referees involved in the men’s football tournament in Rio in August.
French referee Clement Turpin will take charge of the Euro 2016 encounter between Austria and Hungary, with Turkey’s Cuneyt Cakir in the middle for Portugal against Iceland in the other Group F match.
FRENCH referee Clement Turpin will take charge of his first Euro 2016 match on home soil on the fifth matchday.
The 34-year-old, from Montceau-les-Mines, will be in the middle for Austria against Hungary as Group F gets up and running on Tuesday, June 14, at the Stade de Bordeaux (KO 17:00 BST).
He will be assisted by compatriots Frédéric Cano and Cyril Gringore – who has replaced the injured Nicolas Danos – and additional assistants Benoit Bastien and Fredy Fautrel.
Spain’s Jesus Gil Manzano is the fourth official and his fellow countryman Roberto Alonso is the reserve official.
As well as being the youngest referee at the tournament, Turpin is the most inexperienced having only officiated 48 international games and six in the Champions League.
His only other tournament experience came last summer when he oversaw two matches as referee at the Uefa Under-21 European Championship finals in the Czech Republic.
He will, however, be one of 15 referees who will take charge of matches at the men’s Olympic football tournament in Rio in August.
The Oulins-born official, who is also a Refereeing Regional Manager, took up the whistle in 2005 and became the youngest-ever Ligue 1 referee four years later.
He then joined the Fifa list in 2010 and was promoted to the Uefa Elite Category before the start of the 2015-16 season.
Turpin handled three Champions League group games and three Europa League matches – including Liverpool’s 1-0 second-leg win over Augsburg in the last 32 – last term.
EXPERIENCED Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir has been appointed to Portugal’s Group F opener against Iceland in Saint-Etienne on Tuesday.
The insurance agent, who turns 40 in November, will take charge of his first match at the tournament at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (KO 20:00 BST, live on BBC One).
He will be ably assisted by fellow countrymen Bahattin Duran and Tarik Ongun, with Hüseyin Göçek and Barış Şimşek the additional assistants.
Spain’s Carlos del Cerro Grande will be the fourth official for his second game of the tournament, while compatriot Juan Carlos Yuste Jiménez is the reserve assistant.
Cakir made history last season when he became the first referee to handle consecutive Champions League semi-finals in the same campaign.
He was the first Turkish whistler to oversee the Champions League Final, receiving the honour in 2015 as Barcelona beat Juventus 3-1 in Berlin – a year after being the fourth official for the 2014 showpiece.
Like Turpin, Cakir will also be officiating at the Olympic men’s football tournament in Rio later this summer, alongside his regular assistants Duran and Ongun.
The Istanbul-based official is taking part in his third successive major international tournament.
He handled three games at Euro 2012, including Portugal’s semi-final defeat to Spain on penalties in which he booked nine players, and was the fourth official to Pedro Proenca for the Kiev final.
Cakir also refereed three matches at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, culminating in another excellent semi-final showing in Argentina’s win over Holland on penalties.
He was also in charge of 2012 Fifa Club World Cup Final, controversially sending off Chelsea’s Gary Cahill in their 1-0 defeat to Corinthians in Yokohama, Japan.
Cakir first made his Uefa debut in 2003 and became an Elite Category official – allowing him to officiate regularly in the Champions League proper – in 2011.
Following the impressive double capture of midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Higgins explores what they bring to Manchester United and how they can fit into the team.
It’s an ongoing conundrum that has arguably existed at the heart of the Manchester United engine room since captain Roy Keane left Old Trafford a decade ago.
In recent years, they have turned to versatile defenders, lesser-known foreigners, an injury-prone Owen Hargreaves and even brought Paul Scholes out of retirement in an attempt to find a quick fix.
But have the Red Devils finally discovered a solution of sorts by landing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin?
The confirmation of the combined £39.9 million swoop came in the nick of time to allow both players to board the plane for their pre-season tour to the United States, where United fans will get their first glimpse of the club’s latest recruits.
Many supporters have been desperate to see quality over quantity in the middle of the park, a position which has often been overcrowded with too many similar options. However, they may now be satisfied in both areas.
Can you believe a couple of seasons ago we had Gibson Cleveley Anderson and Fletcher. Now we have Basti Herrera Mata and Schneiderlin. 😱👌🏻
In 2015, the high-profile acquisition of Argentina’s Angel di Maria for a record fee followed the signings of Spaniards Juan Mata and Ander Herrera while the versatile Dutchman Daley Blind offered a more defensive alternative.
Even after last year’s arrivals, there has been an overriding sense that the midfield jigsaw is still incomplete in comparison to the strength of their rivals – something Louis van Gaal has evidently been working hard to address behind the scenes.
In the shape of experienced German international Schweinsteiger and the combative French anchorman Schneiderlin, United have added extra power, strength, depth and technical ability to their number – albeit without a necessary guarantee of goals.
The pair scored nine league goals between them, an above average tally throughout their careers, but their fundamental roles are to provide the craft, solidity and protection to the defence which is frequently understated in a team.
"The fans are respectful. I like that a lot. I'm looking forward to playing for the club, but especially for the fans."
Both played an integral part for their nations at the 2014 World Cup with Schweinsteiger starring for 120 minutes in the final and picking up a winners medal before later being announced as Phillip Lahm’s replacement for the new Germany captain.
He may have progressed beyond his peak years but still has plenty to offer as he embarks on an exciting venture which is likely to be the final chapter in his distinguished career in what is widely regarded as the most competitive league in world football.
No Bundesliga midfielder has completed more forward passes over the past 3 seasons than Bastian Schweinsteiger (2850) pic.twitter.com/lJMF3wkeFx
After 13 successful trophy-laden seasons at the top of the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, a fresh challenge was needed and, in his own words, there was only one he would accept.
Schweinsteiger’s familiarity to van Gaal from his two-year spell at the Allianz Arena is an advantage and, although his ability to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League and stay injury free is yet unknown, one of the biggest gains to United is his nous in the dressing room with van Gaal describing the 30-year-old as “the ultimate professional”.
Louis van Gaal on Schweinsteiger: "He brings a wealth of experience and is an excellent addition to our squad." pic.twitter.com/BXnFgSsDxN
It was van Gaal who transformed Schweinsteiger from a winger into a central midfielder at Munich and he is now responsible for, remarkably, making him the first German ever to play for United.
The main provision Schweinsteiger could bring is posing a selection dilemma in the so-called big games, possibly working alongside Michael Carrick in front of the back four, and utilising his experience of tactical awareness and positioning to allow the forward-thinking players the license to hurt the opposition.
As demonstrated against English sides in the Champions League in the past, he can dictate the tempo of tight matches by maintaining possession and finding the elusive pass in between the lines which can prove to be the difference in the final third.
Even the marquee signing of an established world-class player alone can have a huge influence without them kicking a ball by inspiring the current squad to step up a gear and enhance their performance levels.
The presence of Schweinsteiger will bring additional, and always welcome, competition for places among the central midfielders, who are often the subject of criticism from the United faithful for inconsistency and lacking in certain areas such as a goalscoring threat or being too conservative.
In doing so, he can assist other younger players in his position such as Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard to grow in confidence and pass on his breadth of knowledge to help them improve. For £14 million, United have a complete and proven player, who is still near to his best, for a bargain price.
The only significant gamble involved in the move is his continuing fitness battle which has rumbled on over the last five seasons, something which could have been eased amid the high intensity of the English top-flight had he decided to retire from international duty after the blaze of glory in Brazil.
In Schneiderlin, United have arguably secured the services of the Premier League’s second-best deep lying midfielder from last season, behind Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic.
On the evidence of his mercurial and eye-catching displays, the 25-year-old will be worth every penny of the £25 million it took to tempt Southampton to sell him after an initial £20 million fee was rejected.
Although a team effort contributed towards Saints’ surprise march to a Europa League qualifying spot, Schneiderlin was at the heart of their development as he capably took on additional responsibility following the string of senior summer departures, despite being embroiled in his own transfer saga with Tottenham which eventually faded.
Having stayed loyal to the south coast club throughout their meteoric rise from League One since arriving from Strasbourg in 2008, the Frenchman grew in stature and plied his trade as he learned to adapt to different scenarios and retain discipline.
Since 2012/13, no midfielder has made more interceptions (270) in the Premier League than Morgan Schneiderlin. pic.twitter.com/99tnSLh8Pg
Schneiderlin’s personal statistics are testament to his work ethic, racking up the most tackles won, interceptions made and miles run on a consistent basis to endear himself to the club’s supporters, who voted him their best player in their second season back in the Premier League in 2012-13.
He is a positive bundle of energy and enthusiasm who controls matches with his dynamism, crisp passing and measured aggression, thus befitting the style and approach of a United midfielder with greater expectation and pressure on their shoulders.
Schneiderlin: "Now I know that I will get better because I'm going to play with better players and one of the best managers in the world."
It can occasionally count against him as was the case when he was sent off in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea last December for two soft fouls as a result of being too keen to close down the space and time on the ball afforded to the Blues midfield.
One of his biggest assets, however, is his leadership and organisational skills which have been aided by him regularly standing in as Saints skipper in recent seasons and being captain of France Under-21s while his extensive understanding of the other Premier League clubs will be a massive bonus.
Schneiderlin – who said joining United was “an easy decision to make” – could be deployed in a three-man midfield, as he was on some occasions at Southampton, alongside the likes of Schweinsteiger, Carrick, Blind and Herrera. He even found himself on the Saints bench for key games last season, including Liverpool at home and Arsenal away.
It is, however, unlikely that he will be utilised in an advanced midfield berth at any stage, especially with the plethora of other talent at United’s disposal in that position. Nevertheless, it is a role that Schneiderlin has fulfilled sporadically at Saints in previous years but only when Adam Lallana or James Ward-Prowse were unavailable.
Another plus is Schneiderlin’s tender age with his peak years still in front of him in his mid-twenties and more opportunities to come in the France national team, for whom he has earned nine caps to date.
Schneiderlin’s first competitive outing for United might be in the Premier League opener against Spurs, where he would come up against a team he could have joined who is managed by former Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino, who will know more than most how to nullify his effect on proceedings.
Working in tandon with the likes of Steven Davis and Victor Wanyama in a two or three-man defensive shield at St Mary’s, Schneiderlin’s industry and positional sense will stand him in good stead at Old Trafford although his lack of European experience may limit his chances of making an impact in the Champions League should United progress far in the competition.
There may have been other more high-profile midfielders that United could have targeted, particularly given their eagerly anticipated return to the European stage.
But the captures of both Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin suit the philosophy of van Gaal in recruiting ready-made experience whilst thinking of the future. Whether they can both fit into the same team and settle into life at the club is another matter.
He could have dropped interest in one of them when pursuing the other yet decided to seal the deals for both, adding to the already excellent signings of Italian full-back Matteo Darmian and Dutch forward Memphis Depay.
It may also be considered to be a statement of intent, in their eyes of their fellow title contenders, as United seek to end two years without silverware and will at least answer some of the midfield issues they have been faced with for numerous years.