Morgan Schneiderlin has spoken about how he came close to leaving Southampton, revealing that he accused the club of treating him like "cattle."
Schneiderlin, 24, was consistently linked with an exit from the Saints during the summer, with the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham reportedly interested in the player.
The France international publicly expressed his desire to leave St Mary's after seeing key players such as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw all sold on to bigger clubs.
Southampton, though, were adamant the midfielder was not going anywhere and Schneiderlin has since become happy at the club once again playing under Ronald Koeman.
"There was interest from clubs -- three clubs and Tottenham were among them," Schneiderlin was quoted by Sky Sports as telling France Football. "Since February and March, my agents and I had talked with Southampton about a possible departure. The club always told me they would sell for the right price.
"My agents and I went to that meeting on July 29 in a peaceful state of mind, with exciting propositions. To me, with my six years at Southampton and everything I had given to the club, everything should have been sorted that day.
"I told them I signed for a project that was supposed to keep the best elements in order to go higher. Before that meeting, Lallana, [Dejan] Lovren, Lambert, Luke Shaw and Chambers all left. I said to myself: 'This is not the same situation, this is not possible. What are they doing?' At that moment, Southampton hadn't signed anyone.
"Chambers signed for Arsenal the day before our meeting and the club saw the fans getting mad. They thought: 'If Morgan leaves the stadium will be burnt.' So they told us: 'Morgan is not for sale, we won't listen to anything. That is the decision and there is nothing more to say.'
"It was a real shock to me. Of course I was angry. I thought: 'I just played in the World Cup after two good seasons in the Premier League. I never say anything, but I can't stay in a team that plays for survival. I need to reach a new level.' So I told them: 'You don't respect me and you don't respect your words, you treat me like cattle.' They defended their interests and I defended mine."
Schneiderlin, who has impressed for Southampton this season, went on to speak about his decision to remain at the club.
The midfielder said it was the fans who chanted for him during the Saints' opening Premier League game of the new campaign that persuaded him to stay put.
"I talked to a lot of people. Some told me to go on strike, that the club will finally give up. My agents never said that, they just told me to make a decision," he said. "I felt that the officials wouldn't let me leave, that they would rather leave me on the sidelines for six months.
"So I resumed training because I really needed to play football again. I played against Liverpool at Anfield and all the Southampton fans applauded me and chanted my name. It was so heart-warming. I knew then I would spend the whole season at Southampton.
"Maybe now we will achieve something amazing here. Champions League qualification would be fantastic. I hope to play in the Champions League one day, of course. I want to play every three days. But why not play in the Champions League with Southampton?"