Wesley Sneijder: Should Inter Milan let him go?
It would be easy to criticise the hierarchy at Inter for mishandling the situation of Wesley Sneijder’s contract and potentially forcing one of their star players out of the club. However, when judged in context, there is actually some sense to what Inter are doing if not for the manner in which they are doing it.
At the end of the 2010/2011 season, it became clear that Internazionale were in desperate need of re-shaping. Although it would be incredibly harsh to call the campaign a disaster, having won the World Club Championship and the Coppa Italia as well as a second place finish, it was clear that the club were struggling to form an identity following the departure of Jose Mourinho.
There were also other factors involved. Following the treble-winning season, the squad had started to look old, tired and lacking hunger. However, the most important reason was concerning the club’s finances. Massimo Moratti had made his desire to stay in line with UEFA’s financial fair play rules public and therefore wanted to reduce the costs of the club. This would mean that the club would have to sell one, if not more, of their major assets.
It began with the sale of Samuel Eto’o to new money club Anzhi Makhachkala. In truth, it could easily have been Wesley Sneijder, who had reportedly been in talks with Manchester United, but due to his high wage demands he would stay to play through one of Inter’s worst season in recent history.
The loss of Eto’o didn’t have to hit Inter that hard. However, some awful moves in the transfer market and the loss of Leonardo proved to be fatal as the team stuttered and stumbled through an awful campaign.
This can be forgiven as a transition season and recently under the guidance of Stramaccioni, the team, although admittedly suffering some blips, seem to be heading in the right direction. However, one constant through the time since Mourinho’s departure has been the inability to fit Wesley Sneijder into the team. He was in and out of the team through injury in the year after the treble-winning season. Gasperini couldn’t find a place for the Dutchman in his 3-4-3 formation and under Ranieri, Inter would go on their best run when Sneijder was out of the team through injury.
When he did return to the starting line-up, a collapse soon followed. This season has seen much of the same results. The team’s performing well when the Dutchman is out injured and then struggling for balance when he is in it.
Recently, supporters have been made aware that Sneijder is out of the team due to a dispute over a contract and not, as previously believed, due to a nagging injury. Inter are demanding that he sign a contract that would keep him at the club for a longer time but for the same amount of money he makes currently.
Many supporters would be incredibly upset if Sneijder were to go, but what they have to ask themselves is what the player has really offered to the team since the treble-winning season. Although during that fantastic campaign he was arguably one of the best players in the world, he has been a shadow of his former self ever since; regularly injured and almost always struggling for form. Whenever he is substituted, he reacts with fury and when he is in the team, he very rarely has a deciding impact on the result.
Inter have a young squad and Sneijder could prove to be a valuable asset in terms of experience for these youngsters, but that doesn’t justify the negatives he currently brings to the team. If Wesley Sneijder were to return to being the player that he has been in the past then we must keep him at all costs but there is no sign of that and his presence takes away playing time that could be given to younger, more promising and cheaper players like Coutinho.
It would be a shame to see Sneijder leave, the same way it was sad to see Cesar and Maicon leave; but nothing last forever, especially in football.