As there has been ahead of the opening of every transfer window in the past two-and-a-half years, there is growing speculation that Wesley Sneijder will sign for Manchester United. On the back of recent talk that United were keen to add the attacking midfielder, now at Galatasaray, to their ranks in January, The Sun reports on Friday that Sneijder is prepared to take a £1 million pay cut to make the transfer happen.
Sneijder was close to moving to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011, before the move eventually fell apart with United said to be unwilling to match the player’s wage demands. He then joined Galatasaray in in January this year, after a pay dispute with former club Internazionale.
The latest report comes just days after Sneijder claimed that he was happy at the Turkish champions and was aggravated by the repeated speculation over his future. However, it is conceivable that the 29-year-old will be willing to drop his reported current salary of £4 million in order to have one last shot at a major European League when he is still at, or close to, his prime.
What is less probable is that United will be willing to shell out a supposed £10 million fee as well as the still not inconsiderable wages for a player who will turn 30 at the end of this season. Despite his crucial goal against Juventus last week, Sneijder has struggled to recapture his outstanding form of 2010 and he would also be cup-tied for the Champions League were he to join United.
The Premier League champions could do with some extra creativity in their side. To that end, Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic has also been strongly linked of late. After seeing the club sell off the rest of their prized assets in recent times, the Croatian midfielder recently suggested that he was frustrated with the current situation. Sevilla, though, appear in no mood to allow Rakitic to depart, at least not on the cheap.
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“Ivan Rakitic has a year and a half of his contract remaining,” he said, according to the Daily Express. “I have absolutely no doubts that we're going to reach an agreement with him," Castro said speaking at a Sevilla Supporters' Club meeting. If anyone else is in a rush to have Rakitic, his clause is €40m (£33.4m) and we'll leave it at that.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Star has reported on Manchester United’s interest in Basel duo Mohamed Salah and Fabian Schar. Both have played key roles in Basel’s successful past 18 months which saw them reach the semifinals of the Europa League last season and narrowly miss out on the last 16 of the Champions League this campaign.
Morocco international Salah has been a real threat from the right flank and scored in both of Basel’s matches against Chelsea this season. Schar, meanwhile, has enjoyed a phenomenal rise since joining Basel in the summer of 2012, establishing himself as one of the most highly rated young central defenders in Europa and becoming a part of a successful Switzerland team.
Having also been linked with Arsenal, Schar’s agent has confirmed that there is interest from England in the man who turned 22 on Friday.
“He is happy at Basel, where there is a great atmosphere within the club,” Dimitrios Papadopoulos said, according to the Star. "Arsenal? I can confirm we have had contact with English clubs who want to sign him. There is also interest from Italian and German clubs, but we have more contact from England."