A Tantalizing Prospect: Wesley Sneijder at Manchester United

Wesley Sneijder, the versatile Inter Milan and Dutch international midfielder, is reportedly high on the priority list of Man U coach Sir Alex Ferguson who is looking to find replacements for the club’s aging stars like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Scholes is almost certain to retire at the end of the season and, at age 37, Giggs may not be far behind. Surely, any Man U fan familiar with Sneijder’s masterful playmaking and creativity at Inter Milan or during Holland’s run at last summer’s World Cup is salivating at the prospect of him calling Old Trafford home.

A product of the vaunted Ajax youth academy that produced among others, John Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Dennis Bergkamp, Sneijder is one of the most tactically and technically proficient passers and set-up specialists in the game. He is also an accomplished free-kick specialist and, as evidenced by his joint top-goal-scoring status at the World Cup, a persistent threat to opposing keepers; his ambidextrous abilities only make him that much more lethal in all regards. Moreover, his creative approach, physical stature, technique and specific palette of weaponry make him an ideal fit for Man U.

Wesley Sneijder’s command of the midfield at Old Trafford would open up a myriad of possibilities, all of which bode ill for opposing sides. Sniejder’s surgical passing into the attacking third would set up plenty of finishing opportunities for Rooney and Chicharito, added to which his ambidexterity – allowing him to set-up either winger with equal power and precision – further enhances the prospects for finding Man U goal scorers in the box. Among other things, Sneijder’s abilities also further enhance Rooney’s game by minimizing his need to: Troll the upper edges of the attacking zone; and trade his focus on space and angle positioning in which to optimize his attacking abilities in order to help out with playmaking chores – as is currently the case.

Tactically, Sneijder’s presence opens up additional options for coach Ferguson. As a former winger, Sneijder’s playmaking abilities create opportunities for positional interchange, potentially opening up golden attacking lanes and angles for the strikers. What’s more, if Ferguson succeeds in landing his other targeted acquisition, Aston Villa star Ashley Young – who has also filled roles both as winger and playmaker for club and country (England) – a free-flowing template of unpredictability suddenly becomes possible. In fact, with Sneijder and Young both in the mix, it becomes very tempting to speculate on Ferguson giving consideration to a 4-3-3 formation. In any case, such a mix of playmaking potential added to the club’s existing abilities would translate into recurring nightmares for opposing defenders and keepers.

Times are good for Manchester United. Currently, they are in the hunt for an unprecedented 19th English league title and, following their 2-0 dismantling of FC Schalke in the away first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal, look to be on-track for yet another Champions League final. Still, in watching Rooney set up Ryan Giggs’s goal and scoring himself two minutes later against Schalke, adding Sneijder and potentially even Young to the Man U mix is a most tantalizing prospect for this attack-minded EPL fan.

Sources

“Manchester United Looking to Rope in Inter Milan Playmaker Wesley Sneijder in Summer Transfer Window.” Michael Anderson. Bettor.com. April 22, 2011. http://blogs.bettor.com/Manchester-United-looking-to-rope-in-Inter-Milan-playmaker-Wesley-Sneijder-in-summer-transfer-window-a63875

“Wesley Sneijder the Perfect Fit for Manchester United”. James Robson. Manchester Evening News. April 23, 2011. http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/sport/football/manchester_united/s/1418841_wesley-sneijder-the-perfect-fit-for-manchester-united

“Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder Was Born a Manchester United Player”. Yoosof Farah. Bleacher Report. April 20, 2011. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/671784-inter-milans-wesley-sneijder-was-born-a-manchester-united-player