The player linked with a transfer to Manchester United more than any other in the last three years is reportedly back on the club’s agenda. Wesley Sneijder was close to moving to Old Trafford in the summer of 2011 and has continued to be cited as a target even after joining Galatasaray 18 months ago. Such talk ratcheted up once more when Sneijder’s coach with the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal, was appointed the new Manchester United manager.
Fueling the rumor mill further, Galatasaray have now conceded that they would be powerless to stop the playmaker leaving the club should an offer of €20 million (£16m) arrive.
“Sneijder is a good player. We want to keep him at Galatasaray,” president Unal Aysal told The Sun.
“If we 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 €20million and he wants to go then we can’t force him to stay -- it’s written in his contract.”
While not an exorbitant amount, it is still a fee that it is difficult to envisage United paying for a player who celebrated his 30th birthday last month. And, although he scored a crucial goal in the Round of 16 victory over Mexico, his influence on proceedings at this World Cup has not been close to the same level as en route to the final four years ago. With Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa all capable of occupying the No. 10 role at Old Trafford, a deal for Sneijder would be a major surprise.
Sneijder is far from the only member of Van Gaal’s Dutch squad to be linked with a transfer to Manchester United. Among them is defender Stefan de Vrij. The 22-year-old Feyenoord man has equipped himself well in Brazil and has been cited as a candidate to fill the void left by the departed Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. However, Italian side Lazio have insisted that De Vrij intends to join them this summer.
“Many things have been said and written about De Vrij and his transfer to United but this is not true,” technical director Igli Tare said, according to Sky Sports. “His agent has said clearly that he has never been to Manchester to meet with the English club. De Vrij's will is to play in Lazio.”
Manchester United’s defense also looks set to need bolstering at left-back, with Patrice Evra close to sealing a move to Italian champions Juventus. United have paid £30 million for teenager Luke Shaw, but, with Alex Buttner having already left for Dynamo Moscow, a competitor for the left-back slot would likely be sought.
The Manchester Evening News claims that another current Netherlands squad member, Daley Blind is the man being targeted. Blind, 24, began his career as a left-back, although spent much of last season with Ajax playing in a holding midfield role where he has arguably looked more comfortable. In the World Cup, he has given a full display of his versatility, playing as a left-sided center-back, left wing-back and midfielder. The ability to play such a range of positions could certainly appeal to Van Gaal. However, given that the Manchester Evening news article states that Blind is a Feyenoord player, it may not be wise to read too much into the speculation.
Despite talks ongoing between Manchester United and Juventus over Evra, the discussions have not included the possible transfer of Arturo Vidal in the opposite direction, reports Italian transfer expert Gianluca di Marzio. The Chilean midfielder has been linked with United since January and reports recently surfaced that Juventus would be compelled to sell either Vidal or Paul Pogba to raise funds.