It’s summer, Manchester United are looking for a midfielder, their new manager is a Dutchman. Step forward, Wesley Sneijder. Yes, that Wesley Sneijder, the man who, alongside Ezequiel Garay, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for the last four summers is again at the centre of speculations.
Galatasaray’s president Unal Aysal recently revealed that the Dutchman’s contract includes a €20m release clause and that the Turkish club will not stand in Sneijder’s way, should the clause be triggered.
“Sneijder is a good player,” Aysal said at press conference organised for the unveiling of Galatasaray’s new manager, Cesare Prandelli. “We want to keep him at Galatasaray.
“If Galatasaray receive an offer of 20 million euros, we do not have the luxury of saying no. That is stipulated in the contract. All I can say is that if any club pays us 20 million euros and he wants to go, we can’t force him to stay because it is written in the contract.”
In case you’ve taken refuge on Mars since 2009, let us quickly sum up what you might have missed about the Dutch playmaker: having been told he was surplus to requirements at Real Madrid after just two seasons at the club, Sneijder moved to Inter Milan five years ago, inspiring the Neroazzurri to their first ever Treble in his debut season, before he then dragged Holland to the World Cup final in 2010.
Having just sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid, United were looking for a big name to replace the Portuguese with but Fergie’s reluctance for signing a ball-playing midfielder meant a fraction of the £80m Real paid for Ronaldo were re-invested on Antonio Valencia, while Michael Owen signed as free agent.
With United growing increasingly desperate for a playmaker and Sneijder, who had signed for Inter Milan for €15m – less than a half of what United would pay for Marouane Fellaini four years later – becoming disenchanted with life in Serie A, the Dutchman has been almost constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford.
His decision to join Galatasaray in January looked puzzling for a player of his talent, but some of his performances at the World Cup this summer did little to dismiss the doubts that the Dutchman might have lost some of his touch. However, Louis Van Gaal is a known admirer of the 30-year-old and just over a month ago Sneijder admitted an offer from the United manager would be hard to turn down.
“I am happy at Galatasaray, I have established myself at the club and have settled in,” the Holland number 10 said.
“However, if Van Gaal were to make me an offer, I would have to at least consider it. Nobody from the Netherlands can simply reject Van Gaal.
“In the Netherlands, Van Gaal is something like the head teacher of a school. Not everyone is lucky enough to get into his good books. He trains his players very hard, and always expects the highest standards.”
With Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj all capable to operate in Sneijder’s position, a bid for the Dutchman looks unlikely as things stand, even though €20 – £15m – might seem like an appealing price-tag.