Date: 2nd April 2011 at 1:25am
Written by:

Wesley Sneijder

Not the answer to United's midfield problems

You know when you meet a girl, and everything about her seems great. She’s your type, your mates seem to like her, she’s hot – because let’s be honest we’re shallow, you have a laugh.

But something doesn’t quite fit. Well Wesley Sneijder isn’t a girl. But I don’t see him quite fitting at United. I’d want it to work. Because of his class, I know that even if it didn’t, we’d still be friends. I’d want him to do well elsewhere. But something about Sneijder and Manchester United doesn’t work for me.

It’s not for lack of ability, experience, temperament or even style. It’s where he plays. You see, I’m kind of old fashioned in a lot of ways, and I don’t think there should ever be more than one person playing in the hole. Once you get two or three in there, things get messy, you’re bound to get in each others way, uncomfortable looks are going to be shared when it’s not quite fitting right.

Eventually one of you is going to have to get out of the hole, and that person is going to understandably feel a bit of resentment. I’d imagine that’s what would happen anyway.

The thing with United at the moment is, Rooney loves playing in the hole. He’s like a pig in shit when he drops deep. For a lot of people it’s where he was always destined to end up. Growing up in Liverpool he certainly lived in a hole. A lot of people already know how I feel about Rooney, that his behaviour in negotiating a contract was disgusting and disrespectful and I’d be happy to see him gone.

But, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon, so in the meantime I’ll settle for him getting back to his absolute best. Now I don’t see Rooney’s best as scoring 30 tap ins a season. I see Rooney’s best as a true 20-20 player. 20 goals, 20 assists, pulling the strings, setting the wingers and Chicarito running behind defenders, helping out the midfield when needed, playing the way we know he can.

Now, if Rooney is playing that role, being the player who likes to operate in the gap between midfield and defence, making himself hard to pick up, threading the passes and linking the play, then that really doesn’t leave a lot of room for Sneijder.

Even if you imagine United selling Rooney, it’s hard to see Sneijder fitting. Not because he wouldn’t get in the team. He’s undoubtedly an incredible player. But Veron was one of the most highly rated players in the World when United stumped up £28m to bring him over from Italy. His signing resulted in a change from a marauding 4-4-2 to a slightly unbalanced 4-4-1-1 with Scholes playing behind the striker. Now I personally don’t hold Veron responsible for that. He was nowhere near as bad as people chose to make out and actually put in some good performances. The problem was it really didn’t suit United, especially not in the Premiership.

United now have a few formations that they employ, although they are mostly variants of 4-3-3 and 4-4-2. Depending on whether Berbatov and Rooney start, as you’d expect in a 4-4-2 away from home where retention is key, or a 4-4-2 with Rooney and Hernandez with Rooney a slightly deeper forward and Hernandez stretching the defence at Old Trafford you’ve got a couple of options for games where you’d expect United to field 2 forwards and try to bully the opposition.

When playing the ‘harder’ teams, especially away from home, or when the clean sheet is considered the most important thing, like a Champions League match, then United will usually field a 4-3-3/4-5-1 with the expectation that fast counter attacks will be the order of the day. Occasionally, but rarely you might expect to see United line up with a 4-2-3-1 with a play maker behind the centre forward.

Again, I think Rooney could quite easily begin to do that job with Hernandez up front stretching the defence, but for the frequency United play a specialist central attacking midfielder, it begs the question why they would really stump up £40m for Wesley Sneijder when there are other options more in keeping with their recent transfer policy.

That policy might not overwhelm the fans sometimes, but personally I’d rather buy a talented young player and make him into a World beater, rather than spend £40m on a player who’s already won a Treble with someone else. If rumours of De Gea are true, then that’s a fantastic example of a player who fits that bill and I genuinely believe could go onto become a legend at the club.

There is a lot of talk of United needing a box to box midfielder, and in a lot of ways I think that’s true. But only the right one. De Rossi would be a fantastic acquisition for United in my opinion. Scott Parker wouldn’t. The one player I really would love to see at United at the moment is currently playing for Spurs. Oh and he isn’t Welsh. It’s the little magician with a look of Cruyff about him, Luka Modric. When you talk about players who stand a chance of stepping in and replacing Scholes, there are very few who deserve to be even mentioned in the same sentence. Modric though, I think he’d stand half a chance.

Transfers don’t always make sense. But when papers are casually throwing rumour after rumour out there, I always try and analyse the following: Does the player fit in the current system, do they need another player of that type, can they afford the fee and if they can – would they spend that or are there more suitable buys out there. With Sneijder, unfortunately the answer is probably no to all of them. He’s World class, he really is. But United are a team that really don’t suit a 4-4-1-1 and given the fact that Ferguson has Rooney, Berbatov, Hernandez, Macheda and Wellbeck wanting to play centre forward I can’t see him switching to a 4-2-3-1 enough to justify the outlay.

I’m sorry Wesley, it’s not you, it’s us. You’d try your hardest, and we’d want to love you, but it just wouldn’t work out.

For all the latest United news and opinions why not give our Facebook page a like? Click here: Redflagflyinghigh

[bet_365 type='generic' size='468'af_code='365_061447']


29 responses to “Wesley Sneijder At United? Thanks But No Thanks”

  1. Jubbster says:

    I see your point about not wanting two players playing in ‘the hole’. However, Snejder is capable of playing in a deeper role. He played in this position many times for Ajax and Madrid I believe. I say this would be a good buy!

  2. Riaz says:

    All i have to say is you guys have been smokin something you shudnt!!! Snejder can play anywhere in midfield and he is the type of midfielder we are lacking, a goal scoring midfielder… if we can get him i say get him without any hesitation.

    PS Hayden Shaw you are a crack baby for posting this!

  3. Tobias says:

    What are you talking about? Sneijder would be a great signing for United. He’s got fantastic technique ’cause he got great vision of the game, great passing player, good shot, great freekick taker. He’s a hell of a lot better than Anderson. With Sneijder in United they could sell Anderson, who will never fill Scholes shoes. Sneijder would be the closest one to fill Scholes shoes. I don’t see Sneijder failing unless he get’s injured really bad (like Owen Hargreaves). Anderson is a big failure. Modric would be great but he’s not as good as Sneijder. With Sneijder on the pitch, Fletcher could fill the gap between our defence and midfield and Sneijder pushing forward. Rooney to dip into holes between midfield and oppositions defence. Making Chicharito’s work a lot easier.

    Rooney is a great player and United wouldn’t be the same without him. If you don’t like it you could always go to Manchester Shitty and cheer on them

  4. Tobias says:

    Are you sure that Modric could handle the pressure of being a United player and have to perform every week? I believe that Sneijder is stronger mentally than Modric and could handle the big games better than Modric. How well have Modric done on the big stages? Bernabeu, Old Trafford, Emirates, San Ziro, etc?

  5. Saeed says:

    Good article,
    lets hope Modric isn’t flop number 3 from our feeder club Spurs.A goal scorer who can’t score in Champs League,a creative midfielder who ends up a defending midfielder doing 3 yard sideways “slide rule” passes!
    Also Spurs will hold MU to ransom…again,so expect a fee of +£40m, even with a player thrown in.

  6. Lexxy says:

    Great point Tobias, but i stil think Modric is better suited to United than Sneijder. I M O

  7. R.Rosso says:

    Very good article, excellently put.

    We need a quality CENTRE midfielder alongside Carrick (30) not an expensive luxury 30 yards away we have to accomodate. Been there and done that.

    Modric (25) would be a perfect fit for our centre midfield IMO (fuses quality AND graft….which spells MANCHESTER UNITED)but unfortunatley ATM has his head turned by Chelsea.

    Nasri (24)is an excellent shout a bit more offensive than Modric (which leads to more goals) but likewise always looks for the pass and as well isn’t shy of hard graft, only 24yrs and is Premiership proven. Ability speaks for itself.

    Anyone but an expensive, Dutch, sulky, “I want a free role” UNPROVEN Premiership luxury in diva-like Wesley Sneijder(27).

    • Connor says:

      I’m pretty sure if you have the talent to rip apart Chelsea at Stamford bridge almost single handedly(Champions League 09/10) you can play in the premier league.

      • R.Rosso says:

        Not doubting his ability but we wouldn’t be playing Chelsea week in, week out. In the Premiership he would be up against different styles under difficult environments every week..Every game would be a battle. sneijder is untested on that front.

  8. Rob says:

    De Rossi doesn’t look to be going anywhere. He is also older than Utd’s current transfer policy would accomodate.

    Modric doesn’t look to be available for any price and also favors a Chelsea move it seems.

    Bastian Schweinsteiger would be my first choice but he seems to be very loyal to Bayern so I don’t see him moving either.

    M’Vila seems like the right man for the job to me. Young, strong, creative, and possibly available.

  9. soji says:

    I think u ar right to an extent bt d season after Ronaldo left United Rooney played forward all through the season and got 34goals his highest tally ever in a single season so I know he wl av no problem being d major forward and wesley can do d job behind him…wesley is very precise in his play gets goals more than our midfieldes and can take spot kicks well so I don’t see any reason why d growing or our young players can’t sit and learn from him, nt forgetting dat competition brings out d best in players.