Like a good detective novel the Wesley Sneijder transfer saga looks set to keep us enthralled until the very last minute of the transfer window. With more twists and turns than a Jo Nesbro novel and a ending that’s clouded for even the most hardened crime thriller reader, it’s hard to know exactly where the mercurial midfielder will end up.
Two years ago Sneijder was at the top of his profession, a Champions League winner that had played a pivotal role in guiding his country to a World Cup final the Dutch man seemed destined for a £35 million move to Old Trafford.
Today, Sneijder is a 28 year old in his prime who has not played for his club Inter Milan since September and is reportedly available for a knock down price of £8.2 million pound. So what has happened to the former Real Madrid man?
Nothing really, he has not suffered any major injury, nor has he suffered a dip in form, it’s hard to when you are not playing. The source of Sneijder’s Inter Milan downfall is based on matter of a monetary nature. The Italian’s want him to drop his salary from €6 million a year to €4 million, Sneijder does not want. The standoff has cost club and player.
Inter want rid of the player and are hoping to shift him in the January transfer window.
Sneijder has reportedly set his sights on a move to England and while Manchester United remain interested in the player, well according to the bookies they do, it would seem that Liverpool or Spurs would be likely destination.
Depending on who you read Liverpool are either interested or not interested in signing the 28 year old with Sky Sports quoting an “inside source” as saying they are not and GOAL.com quoting that they are. The basis for any report dismissing the link between Brendan Rodgers and Sneijder is based on the fact that Liverpool couldn’t afford him and he does not fit in with their new found transfer policy of signing player’s under the age of 24.
Liverpool has made it club policy not to comment on transfers so it’s hard to know which of the two global sports sites have revealed the truth however Ian Ayre, the Reds managing director left the door open for that or any other deal by stating the age policy is not strictly adhered to “It’s not a policy which is set in stone but it’s an aspiration.
“If we feel there’s a particular position or player who can contribute to the group and is over that sort of age limit, it doesn’t mean we won’t consider that player.”
One thing is certain, judging from Liverpool’s display against Manchester United on Sunday, a player of the calibre of Sneijder would certainly add more creativity and cutting edge to the side. Playing in front of Lucas and Gerrard any capture of Sneijder would still allow Rodgers to play his 4-3-3 system and would reduce the pressure on Joe Allen and Jordan Henderson.
In terms of financing any deal, a three year deal worth £5 million pounds a year would cost £15 million that coupled with the transfer fee of £8 million makes it an attractive option to any club, one that would almost self-finance itself on shirt sales and commercial activity alone.
The player has also come out to say that any decision he makes won’t be about money with La Gazzetta dello Sport quoting the Dutchman as saying, “This is not about the money,”
“Like every player who could be on the move this window, I have to make a decision by January 31. I do not want to rush anything, and I don’t like it how Inter have put pressure on me.
“I am almost being forced to make a rushed decision about my future at a crucial moment in my life. After all that’s happened in the past few months, I feel that I do not deserve to be pressured like this.”
“After what has happened in the last few months, in the context of having made football history with my team-mates, well, I don’t want to feel pressured,” he added.
“After what I did, I don’t want to feel this way – practically obliged to make such an important step in my life in a short space of time.
That seems to be backed up by his reluctance to accept the offer on the table from Turkish side Galatasaray.
Of the two others English club’s linked, Spurs have the resources, the coach and the location to attract Sneijder to White Hart Lane and if any chairman is capable of pulling off a coup then it’s Daniel Levy. The Londoners are very much in the mix for the Champions League spot and many will point to their Rafael van der Vaart deal as evidence of their ability to work under the radar. All in all very appealing.
However unlike Liverpool, Spurs have an array of attacking options with Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson on the books and an additional forward to ease the burden on Jermaine Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor would seem more of an requirement for Andre Villas-Boas.
The link to Manchester United appears purely based on history. Like Spurs, Sir Alex Ferguson has an array of attacking options at United and with Robin van Persie firing on all cylinders the requirement for a marquee signing in their late 20’s is not top of the Scot’s agenda. A more likely signing appears to be Frank Lampard who would take over the mantle of Paul Scholes and aid with the development of Tom Cleverley.
Manchester City also have an array of talent at their disposal but a signing like Sneijder could kick on Roberto Mancini’s side as they aim to reduce the seven point deficit at the top of the table. Chelsea’s dearth of attacking midfielder and preference for youth means they will not enter the race for the player while the Emirates has not even been mooted as a possible destination.
All of which points to an Anfield move, however we are only half way through the mystery at this stage and with two weeks of the transfer window left expect plenty more drama, headlines and back page gossip column inches to be taken up.