Wesley Sneijder says he is not concerned about renewed speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United, but would not rule out a transfer. A deal was close to take the Dutch star to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011, before he eventually left Internazionale for Galatasaray in January after a pay dispute.
Sneijder repaid a chunk of his hefty salary on Wednesday by scoring the only goal against Juventus that sent Galatasaray into the last 16 of the Champions League. Afterward, he explained that recent rumors were nothing new.
“I know nothing,” he reportedly told Dutch paper NOS. “I know only as much as you do just the reports in the newspapers, which seem to come out every time the transfer window is about to reopen.
“It’s pretty annoying when you’re playing in Turkey. The people here are very emotional and passionate about it all. I have no desire to have to justify myself to the people every time my name is in the media. I’m fine here and enjoying myself, and the fact that we progressed in the Champions League is great.
“I am happy here, but you never know for certain what will happen in football.”
While United manager David Moyes badly needs all the quality he can get his hands on in midfield, a deal for Sneijder is unlikely to be the answer. The former Real Madrid man will command a hefty salary, will turn 30 next June and would be cup-tied for the Champions League.
Still, unavailability for the Champions League does not appear to be a deterrence for Moyes in his interest in whoever it was he was watching at Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Porto this week. The widely held belief, espoused by the Daily Mirror among others, is that Moyes was taking a look at Atletico midfielder Koke, with whom he has previously been linked.
The 21-year-old has impressed playing all across the midfield this season in helping Atletico to finish top of their Champions League group, while also sitting on equal points with Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Atletico will be loathed to lose the promising Spain international, but he is thought to have a €24 million (£20.2m) release clause in his contract.
By virtue of injury, Manchester United would not encounter a problem with Champions-League ineligibility if they were to pursue their long-mooted interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. The 23-year-old has made just one appearance this season because of a back injury. Citing stories in Spain, the Daily Mail reports that the Germany international’s father has met with members of Barcelona’s hierarchy to discuss a transfer. It is not the first time that Gundogan has been linked with Barcelona, while Real Madrid are also thought to be lining up a move for next summer.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror -- perhaps merely as a justification to once roll out their photoshopped image of him in a Chelsea shirt -- have reported that Chelsea are set to make another bid for Wayne Rooney next summer. Chelsea had two bids rejected for the forward in the most recent transfer window, with Manchester United refusing to consider selling him to a Premier League rival.
After reportedly wanting to leave Old Trafford, Rooney has responded by beginning the season in fine fashion. The 28-year-old’s future remains undecided, however, with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2015 and Moyes recently commenting that he is in no panic to tie him down to a longer deal.