Wesley Sneijder is a name that is constantly linked to Manchester United. While transfer rumors are notoriously untrustworthy, this Sneijder rumors keeps floating to the surface. All the signs are there to suggest this one has some truth in this.
United were reported to have a 35 million pound bid rejected last summer for the Dutch international. Which was understandable, Inter had just won a treble with Wesley Sneijder being the focal point for Inter for the majority of the season. Not wanting to lose their star man they wanted to keep him at the club long term and despite Wesley stating that he would love to play in the Premier League and Manchester United would be his preferred choice, the playmaker signed a new five-year contract back in October. However, since then things have gone rather pear-shaped.
Rafa Benitez was sacked and former Ac Milan manager Leonardo was appointed as manager. While it started well enough, humiliating defeats to arch rivals Ac Milan and Schalke in the Champions League have cast an aura of uncertainty over the Milan club, including Sneijder’s future. Rumors are suggesting that the relationship between Leonardo and Wesley is being strained by the day and Sneijder is looking to exit the club and pursue a new challenge. Having tackled La Liga and Seria A that leaves only one plausible league left for the talented midfielder to try his hand at: the English Premier League.
Looking at United and all the signs are there that Sneijder would be the perfect signing. Paul Scholes is getting older by the day and is looking likely to retire at the end of the season, with a testimonial set in place for August. His horror tackle and sending off in the semi-final of the FA Cup has left many to wonder whether the ginger haired magician still has it in him to produce on the biggest occasions.
Make no mistake he still has a part to play for the remainder of this campaign and I for one would love to see him still playing for United next term. However, the manager and Paul have to decide whether or not he would be a hinderance rather then a positive for United.
Obviously there will be one or two central midfielders coming in the summer (hopefully Sneijder) with Tom Cleverley coming back from a loan spell at Wigan and Sir Alex won’t forget about the promising young starlets in the U18s side that have just reached the FA Youth Cup Final. Would the continuation of Scholes career hinder the opportunities of the likes of Paul Pogba, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ravel Morrison who have been instrumental in as Gary Neville described “the best youth team United have had in years” next season?
Whether our maestro retires or not remains to be seen, but many have named Wesley Sneijder as the perfect replacement. Similar stature, a wonderful ability to find space in congested areas, a horrible habit of always finding his team-mate with a pin point pass and a tremendous striker of the ball, you could have been forgiven to thinking that Sneijder is a carbon copycat of Scholes. Sneijder also has the valuable ability to take a deadly set-piece, something which United have badly been missing since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Also missing since the departure of Ronaldo, is a rightful heir to the number 7 shirt. Owen has been a good player for United who has pitched in with some valuable goals. However, he is not worthy of the number 7 shirt in all honesty, at his best he would have been, but not now. I don’t think too many fans would be too disappointed if Sneijder was wearing the prestigious number 7 next season.
Also the advantages of signing of Wesley Sneijder is to the benefit to our front man. Since the beginning of the 09-10 season Sneijder has created 64 chances in the Champions League – more then anyone else. If anyone saw the Chelsea v Inter Milan clash of last year where Inter won one-nil thanks to a Samuel Eto’o goal, you would have seen one of the finest performances from a central midfielder ever seen. Wesley created chance after chance, before laying off a sumptuous ball right into the path of Eto’o who smashed it into the back of the net. Sneijder hasn’t just produced it for his club, his five goals and inspiring performances help guided Holland into the World Cup final before losing to a late goal from Andrea Iniesta. In fact it was a shock to many that he wasn’t even among the final nominees for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.
Wesley Sneijder is exactly what United need, a link between defense to attack. While the likes of Anderson, Carrick and Fletcher have all had decent spells this season, none have had managed to put in consistent performances. Anderson has had numerous injury problems, Darren Fletcher has been suffering from a virus and Michael Carrick has probably been the most frustrating players this season for United – a tremendously gifted player, but consistently fails to take games by the scruff of the neck(Chelsea apart).
Also Anderson, Carrick and Fletcher have all failed to find the net on a consistent basis with a mere four goals between them. While not being a prolific scorer, Wesley has managed the same amount of goals of all our midfielders with six goals. His ability to score or create a goal would be pivotal in tight away games like Newcastle last Tuesday. Also at the age of 26 turning 27, Wesley Sneijder is at the peak of his powers and at a age where he wouldn’t be hindering our youth prospects in the long term compared to the likes of Rodwell or Henderson.
It’s the fact that United’s midfield has been so inconsistent this season that even away to the likes of West Ham, Birmingham and Blackpool, United have opted to put three in midfield and dropping one of United’s strikers. Sneijder would help bring back United’s favored shape of 4-4-2 in this games which would allow another striker on the field and thus more opportunities to score goals.
Whether this rumor turns out to be true or not is still to be seen, but I for one would love to see Wesley Sneijder gracing the hallowed turf at Old Trafford next season.