If Sir Alex Ferguson can only afford to sign one cheque this summer, it should be made out to Inter Milan for the signature of classy Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder. So many names have been linked to Manchester United thus far, so many hopes have been raised and dashed, that one begins to wonder if there will be any signings made at all. Those hopes have risen sky high again with reports that Ferguson wants the 26 year old to spearhead next seasons bid for glory.
It may take £35million to prise the Dutchman away from Inter but Sir Alex is desperate to find an attacking midfielder in the Paul Scholes mould. Although the transfer kitty may be somewhat limited, Sneijder will be the ideal player to provide the United midfield with precisely what it needs – someone to sit in behind striker Wayne Rooney.
Sneijder only moved to the San Siro from Real Madrid in a £13m switch a year ago, a move that the Galacticos have regretted so much that there has been talk of trying to lure him back to the Bernabeau. He has proved to be an instant success helping Inter Milan win Serie A, the Italian Cup and the Champions League. The midfield maestro can now lead his country to a World Cup Final having already grabbed four goals during the tournament.
Ferguson has long admired Sneijder but he faces a big battle to land the Dutch star. It will take some serious fast talking from United to tempt Inter into parting with their star midfielder. New manager Rafa Benitez is no friend of Fergie’s after their frequent spats when the Spaniard was in charge at Liverpool. The former Anfield boss will be loath do Sir Alex any favours but the club has a good relationship with the Nerazzurri hierarchy and they would hope to overcome any Benitez protests.
Another obstacle Ferguson will face in his plans to land Sneijder is former Inter boss Jose Mourinho, now in charge at Real Madrid who is a huge admirer of the goal scoring midfielder. It’s believed that Sneijder would love to have a crack at the Premier League but Old Trafford sources fear it might be too soon for him to quit Inter. With Paul Scholes nearing the end of his illustrious career, Ferguson is concerned that the necessary goals from midfield may not be forthcoming.
Sir Alex has been on Sneijder’s trail for weeks which may explain his hesitancy to finalise any other deal. He sees the imaginative Dutchman as the injection of class that the team needs to challenge for domestic and European honours next season. If Ferguson is to be successful in his chase, Sneijder will not come cheap as he’s bound to have a good resale value. It’s one of the demands that the Glazers have put on large cash signings but the owners have already made the funds available with chief executive David Gill claiming that the club has over £80m at their disposal if big transfer funds were required.
Will Wesley Sneijder provide the spark that Ferguson needs in midfield?