When Wesley Sneijder made the surprising decision to sign for Galatasaray, over some of Europe’s more exalted clubs he made the statement “why didn’t I join one of the top 5 clubs in Europe? Because I am not one of the top 5 players around…” He was 27 when he said this, it is strange then to see him linked to old Trafford now (if Jose Mourinho is handed the reigns) at the grand old age of 31.
At the peak of his powers Sneijder was one of the best playmakers in the game, a two-footed, diminutive genius capable of raising the abilities of hardworking, competent sides into those capable of challenging for some of the games biggest prizes. In 2010 alone he almost single-handedly dragged Internazionale to a never before seen treble and Holland, barring a last minute Andreas Iniesta volley, to a World Cup success.
These days however he cuts a more sombre image, striding around the field, seemingly only interacting with the ball when he feels obliged to do so. In the 2014 world cup he was reduced from the gravitational centre of the side to a man cast to the periphery. A thunderous equaliser against Mexico in the round of 16 aside, the man was anonymous. In this season’s Champions League he hardly looked like a player still capable of mixing it with the game’s elite, seeing his Galatasaray side knocked into the Europa League by a fierce Athletico Madrid side and an ordinary Benfica.
If he were to swing into Old Trafford – as suggested by The Sun – he would just be another name added to the already lengthy list of candidates vying for the role of playmaker; Mata, Fellani, Herrera, Depay and above all Rooney. He would most likely be played out of position or used sparingly, something that, I feel, would grate a man like him.
His time in Istanbul, one of European football’s outposts, has done little for him but to dull his once razor sharp skills making a return to a club with aspirations as lofty as Manchester United’s nearly impossible.