It takes a special player to dominate the headlines without being on the pitch for weeks. Wesley Sneijder is finding out that situation isn't as glamorous as it sounds. His ongoing contract dispute with Inter Milan paired with January transfer rumors have led to a lot of drama.
The extremely talented 28-year-old midfielder was originally sidelined by injury in late September, but hasn't returned because the club wants to work toward a new contract. The ensuing saga has caused a lot of tension for everybody involved.
Adam Digby of ESPN reports Sneijder rejected Inter's latest offer on Monday, adding more fuel to the rumor fodder. He wants a chance to get back in the starting lineup before making a decision about signing a new deal.
"At this moment in time, I have no reason to sign," he said. "How can I accept a new contract under these conditions when I am not even playing?"
Sneijder has made just eight appearances for the Nerazzurri during the campaign. The squad began to heat up just as he was forced to sit out due to injury, but has cooled off over the past few weeks, leaving no reason for him to remain benched.
His talent is incredible. When in top form, he's one of the best playmaking midfielders in the world. A rare combination of tremendous vision and almost unmatched creativity makes him a nightmare to defend.
Not only can he deliver pinpoint passes, but the Netherlands international can also unleash some terrific strikes when given the opportunity. Simply put, he's one of the most complete midfielders on the planet and it's fun to watch him operate when in form.
His ability to jump-start an offensive attack has clubs from around the globe tracking the Inter situation closely. There will be no shortage of potential suitors if Sneijder becomes available leading up to or during the January window.
Of course, Sneijder is no stranger to transfer talk. Manchester United has been frequently linked to him in recent years, but a deal has never been reached.
That said, the contract woes and Sneijder's desire to get back on the field have placed a greater focus on the rumors that are beginning to pop up right now.
Paul Collins of the Daily Mail states the Red Devils are once again keeping close tabs on Sneijder. Longtime manager Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't given many hints as to his possible moves in January, but it's no surprise to see the Sneijder link.
United isn't alone, however. Rival Manchester City is also eyeing the midfielder with hopes of boosting a squad that bowed out of the Champions League after yet another loss on Tuesday, according to the Manchester Evening News.
The Citizens currently sit in second place—behind United—in the Premier League table. Adding a dynamic player like Sneijder to the mix could very well give them the edge as they attempt to defend their title.
As it stands now, however, Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti says the club hasn't received any offers for Sneijder from the Manchester rivals or any other teams with rumors interest such as Turkish side Fenerbahce, reports Stefan Coerts of Goal.com.
We have not received any offers for him yet. We would already be two steps further ahead if we had received any bids. I do not think the situation cannot be solved. Things can change quite sudden in football.
Given Sneijder's immense talent, it's a situation that won't go away until a resolution is found. Only time will tell whether that means him signing a fresh deal with Inter to help the club financially, or finding a new home in January.
The only guarantee is that Sneijder is going to make a major impact once he gets back on the field. It will take some time for him to get back in form after being out for so long, but he's going to make whatever squad he plays—for Inter or otherwise—better.
That's the sign of a true superstar. He makes everybody around him more dangerous by putting them in promising situations. Having seen that first hand, Inter should work hard to find common ground.
If they can't, there are numerous clubs that would love adding a player of Sneijder's caliber to the mix. It's going to make for an interesting couple of months.