Reports are again suggesting that Manchester United are set to renew their interest in Inter Milan attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder.
The Netherlands international was previously close to a move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011, but now a contract dispute with his Italian club could bring United back into the picture, according to the Daily Mail.
Sneijder, who earns a reported £200,000 a week, has been asked to accept a drop in wages in a new contract offer as part of the club’s cost-cutting measures. The deal has so far been refused by Sneijder, prompting Inter to leave him out of the first team.
“We’ve been negotiating with him for a while and we need to modify his contract,” said Inter director Marco Branca. “We want to give him time to think about it and so we won’t be using him for the time being.”
It was reportedly the 28-year-old’s wage demands that previously scuppered his chances of joining United. It would be a huge surprise were United to sign Sneijder at this stage. Sir Alex Ferguson signed attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa in the summer and, given Sneijder’s age, United are unlikely to be persuaded to contribute a significant fee plus wages on the man who helped Inter to Champions League victory in 2010.
Another reported long-time Manchester United target is back in the gossip pages, with the Sunday Express claiming that Leighton Baines could finally be on his way to Old Trafford in January. The Everton left-back was repeatedly slated as a potential replacement for Patrice Evra at United during the summer.
According to the Express, United could be set to offer £8 million plus Evra for the England international.
United signed unheralded Dutchman Alexander Buttner in August, but still appear weak in the left-back position. Evra’s performances have dropped in the past season or two, with the 31-year-old exposed more regularly defensively.
Baines has established a reputation as one of the Premier League’s finest left-backs in recent seasons and could provide the defensive acumen coupled with an offensive threat required at Old Trafford.
Manchester United are likely to face a battle to sign another of their reported January targets, Wilfried Zaha. The Crystal Palace winger is believed to be attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs, with United recently claimed to be heading the chase.
However, the Daily Mirror, quotes a Palace insider stating that Zaha may well have to wait for his big move.
“It would be easy to cash in on Wilfried in January, but the feeling at the club is that it would be a false economy. It is a case of giving it our best shot to win promotion—and that means keeping Wilfried at Selhurst Park.”
Another exciting youngster has again been linked with United in recent days, with the Daily Mirror suggesting that Ajax forward Viktor Fischer could be on his way to Old Trafford.
The 18-year-old Dane is said to have rejected contract talks with the Dutch champions amid reported interest from both United and rivals Manchester City.