With two weeks to go in the January transfer window, Inter has finally come to terms with a team to move wantaway midfielder Wesley Sneijder. As much as the Dutch master must want to get out of the San Siro, however, this deal has a snag: his destination would be Galatasaray.
Now, I'm not out to mock the Turkish outfit. They're the defending Super Lig champions and were able to edge out Romanian club Cluj to finish second in Group H of the Champions League group stage, and face a winnable tie against Schalke in the Round of 16.
But the fact of the matter is that, when healthy, Wesley Sneijder is one of the best players in the world—one that would consider a move to Turkey to being the equivalent of being exiled to Siberia.
Sneijder has yet to accept personal terms with Galatasaray, and it is assumed by many that he is waiting for a potential offer from a club in the English Premier League. Liverpool is one team reputed to be interested, and the Dutchman has flirted with Manchester United for the better part of a year now.
Sneijder is a player of surpassing quality that doesn't belong in a small-time league like the Super Lig. It may be that Galatasaray is the only team that is giving Inter an offer they deem acceptable right now, but if this transfer does go through it may be looked on as a punitive measure on the part of the club and president Massimo Moratti. If that ends up being the case it could have an adverse effect on the Milan giants.
If Inter gains a reputation as a team that will exile good players to inferior leagues, it will reduce the incentive for players to join the Italian club in the first place. Italian clubs already have a hard enough time attracting superstar-level talent as it is with the league in a down period and the country's financial woes handicapping its clubs.
What incentive would players of Sneijder's quality and stature have for coming to the San Siro if they don't know what might happen if they run afoul of Moratti—who is notoriously unpredictable as to what might set him off.
The report from ESPN notes that Inter's deal with Galatasaray has a €5 million penalty clause that would go into effect if Sneijder moves to another team during this transfer window. That will obviously color any negotiations Inter has with higher-profile teams. The problem is that it doesn't look like Inter is having any.
With two weeks left in the transfer window, if Inter is going to move their midfielder to a team that's worthy of him they had better do it quickly. Otherwise, they could end up causing a great deal of damage to their reputation amongst the continent's best players.