Should Man United Sign Sneijder?


With reports suggesting a deal is imminent, let’s have a look at how the arrival of Sneijder could affect the 2011 Premier League Champions.

Wayne Rooney

We all know that Sneijder has a wonderful array of passing and is deadly in front of goal. What we seem to forget is that his most successful season in professional football came two seasons ago as the central playmaker in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The player himself has admitted that under former Inter manager Jose Mourinho, he did not carry the burden of defensive duties; his role was to dictate play and create chances. Having the team built around him and being given complete freedom on the pitch was the fundamental reason behind the clubs success that season. They won the treble and Sneijder should’ve at least been in the running for Player of the Year for his role in them winning it (I’ll save the Barca bashing for another time).
Then there’s Wayne Rooney. A player invigorated after a year of tabloid stories and injuries (not to mention a terrible World Cup). Sir Alex Ferguson moved Rooney back to his natural position as a traditional centre forward and he came into his own during the second half of the 2010/2011 season. The emergence of Javier Hernandez as the teams goal-poacher allowed Rooney to drop deeper than when playing with Dimitar Berbatov, and the pair were so effective that Sir Alex moved away from the traditional 4-4-2/4-5-1 formations in favour of the 4-4-1-1 in all of the big games towards the end of the season. 
It is certain that Rooney’s position in the team will not be compromised for Sneijder, so why buy someone potentially worth £35m and play him out of position? Let’s not forget that even if Rooney was to get injured, Berbatov would be a more than capable deputy.

No value

Sneijder recently turned 27 this summer and is a worth a reported £35m fee. Considering he is currently earning something close to £200,000 a week, that would take the total cost over 5 years towards the £80m+ figure. Would it be wise to invest so heavily in a player who has arguably already played his best football and whose value will half once he hits 30? Although the above argument could easily be nullified by mentioning the name of Andy Carroll, it’s something which Sir Alex has time and time again focused on as part of United’s transfer policy.

The United Philosophy

The reason why Sneijder rates Mourinho so highly is because he was given complete freedom on the pitch. He often tracks back leisurely when his team are hit on the counter attack,. If the magic of Berbatov is considered a dispensable luxury, then why would United break their transfer record for someone whose philosophy is the same?


You only have to look at United’s two young midfielders, Anderson and Tom Cleverley, to see the talent already in the squad. Sir Alex has hinted during pre-season that he may well see a replacement for Paul Scholes within his own squad, rather than splashing the cash on a big name.  As we have seen from United’s tour of the US, and the Community Shield against Man City, United have a huge prospect in Tom Cleverley. The young Englishman has proven himself at every level he’s been tested at and should be given the chance to play 15-20 games this season. The acquisition of Sneijder will only hinder his playing time. Anderson, once dubbed the ‘new Ronaldinho’, is expected to play a huge role this season and will be given a lot more responsibility than in previous seasons. Last season he showed a patch of great form when he was given a prolonged run in the side until injury curtailed his progress. Anderson’s lack of effectiveness when playing in a midfield three could see him forced out of the bigger games.


Having said all of the above, my heart tells me that if news breaks out that United and Inter have agreed a fee, I will leave everything and rush to the closest TV to watch Sky Sports News. One of the best midfielders in the world, proven at the highest level, wearing the famous red shirt sends tingles down my spine. No longer would I be afraid that our midfield would be overwhelmed against the likes of Barcelona (shudder…) or Real Madrid. The fear factor would be restored. We would have someone who could score from free kicks, something we have been missing since Ronaldo left, and even corners, since Beckham was at the club. In the bigger games, United could opt for Rooney to lead the line, as he so effectively did during the 2009/2010 season, and play Sneijder behind him. A front four of Nani, Sneijder, Valencia and Rooney has the potential to destroy any defence.

But how can we finance such a move?

United are a globally bigger club than Inter, fact. A sale this big would be news all over the world and United are sure to recoup some of the transfer fee through replica shirt sales. Being the worlds biggest sports brand also has its perks when negotiating contracts, and it has been reported that a drop in wages for the talented Dutchman could be compensated by enhanced image rights.
The best way, as all United fans are hoping, would be to keep winning titles. Whatever happens, with or without Sneijder, you can be sure that there will be an exciting season ahead at the Theatre of Dreams.

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6 Responses

  1. The team looks better and I think £35m too much for him, 27 and of course has played his best Football… The new team that we have with young talents is pretty good and will improve in coming year, so it would be wise to go with this team than to spend that amount on him. But, what I think is with this team it would be pretty damn hard for us to challenge the likes of Barcelona, We can and will win the League with this team but It will be hard in champions league!

  2. Cleverley looks like he can fill in for Scholes,if Wesley comes to old trafford then the chances for Cleverley to break into first team will be less,so its better for united that they dont sign wes

  3. Excellent post. My first thought about this deal was always how it would affect Wayne Rooney’s game. While free-scoring as a CF in 09/10, United always seem a more effective unit when he drops to collect the ball deeper. Having Sneijder, Rooney and Hernandez in the same XI either leaves the side imbalanced on the flanks or exposed in the centre.
    Having said that, you wouldn’t bet against the higher calibre of player being able to adapt.

    As a side note, you’d have to add that Andy Carroll would cost c. £30m less than Sneijder over a 5year contract and would retain far more value at the end of it (as a Liverpool fan it always annoys me when they leave that part out).


  4. This article reflects 100% how I feel about the potential transfer – don’t want him as I don’t think he’s right for the club at this point in time (a year or two ago, I think would have been the time to sign him), but would rush to Sky Sports News and watch near-continuously as he signed.

    Same thing happened with somebody mentioned within the article – Dimitar Berbatov. Didn’t want United to sign him either, but couldn’t take my eyes away from Sky Sports News after midnight once he had signed on that frantic transfer deadline day.

    Should he sign, I’ll back him to the moon like I did for Dimi. But until then, nada.

    Top class post.

  5. Anderson is utterly shit, always injured, out of shape and its hard to see any potential in him. United would be better of signing modric or even De Rossi for midfield muscle

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