The name Wesley Sneijder has become almost as synonymous with Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson or #19 of late. It seems during the Summer you couldn’t read an news article, tweet, blog or post with seeing some reference to the imminent arrival of the Dutch midfielder.
The Mail spent an entire month telling the world how Sneijder was set to sign any moment, before suddenly informing us he was actually staying at Inter- as the transfer window had closed- before realising sales were down again and there was space on the website for things other than pictures of Natasha Giggs, so he was obviously joining in January.
The Mail wasn’t the only publication that went Sneijder-crazy, almost every newspaper in Britain was awash with speculation of how Inter’s prized asset was on his way to the Theatre of Dreams. With the January transfer window less than two months away, we’re now being treated to more Sneijder rumours, which seem to have increased since the derby day defeat, somehow evidence that United ‘desperately need a new midfielder’ although how Sneijder would have prevented that drubbing is quite frankly beyond me.
Signing Sneijder may be an attractive propostion for many Reds, but I’m going to stick my neck out and state it simply isn’t going to happen. The reason? Well, here’s ten I can think of…
1. Tom Cleverley. Do we really need Sneijder if Cleverley’s fit? Probably not. Could Cleverley and Senijder play together? Of course they could but which one of them would be doing defensive duties and if the answer is neither then that means we’d need a five man midfield as there”s simply no way on God’s earth I can envision Cleverley being dropped in favour of Sneijder or anyone else. The problem with a five man midfield leads me to my next point…
2. Danny Welbeck. If Sneijder arrives then Welbeck would almost certainly see his chances of first team action all but disappear as it’s highly likely Rooney would be deployed as a lone striker to accomodate the Dutchman in midfield alongside two others. Welbeck is an outstanding striker who deserves the chance at Old Trafford he’s been given this season.
3, Chicharito. See reason number 2.
4. Can Wayne Rooney not do a similar and some would argue better job playing in the Sneijder role, just behind Welbeck or Chicharito? Against the likes of Chelsea last season he showed that he’s more than capable of operating in a ‘False 10’ type role that Sneijder also revels in.
5. At 28 Sneijder has practically zero re-sale value, plus is a massive step away from the transfer policy that Sir Alex has pursued these past few years- in fact you could argue that he’s pursued that policy since the Abramovich takeover of Chelsea.
6. Buying a player inelligible for the Champions League only three months after he could have been bought while he was still elligible, for practically the same price, would be like Sir Alex Ferguson holding up his hands and admitting he made a mistake in the Summer. Somehow I just can’t see it.
7. Sir Alex has been stung once before buying a superstar midfielder from Italy who could supposedly elevate the team to new heights and it’s doubtful that the United boss would want to risk breaking the club’s transfer record on a player unproven in the Premier League.
8. Only last week David Gill spoke of the importance to Ferguson of leaving the next United manager with a young, talented squad. Buying players in their late twenties is hardly going to help any new Red boss.
9. DM not AM should be the priority for midfield. If United are to strengthen the midfield department, then the fact we seem to be struggling to offer proper protection to the back four needs to be adressed.
10. Paul Pogba, Ryan Tunnicliffe and even Ravel Morrison are young midfield players who can have an impact on the first team over the next few years. do we really need to spend a fortune on a player who may scupper their first team chances over the next three years? I’d argue we don’t.