Wesley Sneijder Should Stop Premier League Flirtation and Focus on Season

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2013

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - APRIL 09:  Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray AS applauds their supporters after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final match between Galatasaray AS and Real Madrid at the Turk Telekom Arena on April 9, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

There are some dreams that never come true. For Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder, it's looking increasingly like that dream is ever suiting up in the English Premier League.

The 29-year-old Dutchman, heading into his first full season with the Turkish club after winter transfer, has seen his future again come into question throughout the past few months. There were multiple rumors about Galatasaray trying to parlay their cheap investment—they paid a flailing Inter just €7.5 million for his services, pittance for someone of his caliber—and could likely fetch a good deal more on the open market.

At the center of a majority of this speculation has been a move to jolly ol' England. 

While Sneijder has not been vocal about his desires—as tends to be his nature—gossip rags have "somehow" stumbled upon his innermost thoughts. Bill Mills of The Mirror noted his desire for a move to England, noting that he's never wavered from his desire to give the Premier League a shot.

It's easy to see why Sneijder would want to make the leap now. Barreling toward his 30th birthday and playing a style that necessitates quickness and leg power, Sneijder's window to be an effective player in the world's top league is dwindling. Top-tier teams rarely play big fees for players after they reach the big 3-0, and it's unlikely someone of Sneijder's caliber would enjoy slumming it in the mid tier.

Having already done a spell with Real Madrid and Inter, he's played with top clubs in two of the world's premier leagues. He's faced just about every test possible for a world-class player save for something like an American money grab—except that one that's seemingly stuck in his craw.

The problem, however, is that Sneijder is very unlikely to get his wish with just days before the Sept. 2 transfer deadline. As per The Metro, Chelsea expressed interest during the earliest stages of the window before moving on, at a time where the Turkish side may as well have been putting a "for sale" sign on his head. 

Now? The situation differs. The Istanbul-based club is already three games into its Super Liga season, winning once and drawing twice. Those results aren't exactly sterling for a squad coming off a championship and expected to compete for another. Sneijder is in fine form during his appearances, looking like a motivated player who might be irreplaceable for Fatih Terim.

As such, the market has stalled. Manchester United was floated by Mills as a potential destination, Sir Alex Ferguson having expressed interest three years ago when Inter first floated Sneijder's name on the open market. With David Moyes taking over the club this summer, there's no real word on whether United would still have interest.

In other words: It's probably time for Sneijder to put his dream on hold and focus on keeping his form. Because if you listen to those close to the Dutch midfielder, it hasn't been too stellar of late. 

This stalling on a potential move is the latest in what's been a frustrating month for Sneijder. Formerly the captain of the Dutch national team, he's not only seen his sleeve be given to Robin van Persie but also was dishonored by being excluded from the Netherlands' friendly with Portugal this month.

When announcing the move, coach Louis van Gaal made no bones about his concerns over Sneijder's fitness.

"I have the idea he doesn't get it,'' Van Gaal said via ESPN. "Sneijder has to get fit first, and then get in form, he's got to focus himself on that. Then, with his talent, he'll probably play.''

Sneijder has not made an appearance for the Dutch national team since July, where he scored a second-half goal against China. There is no word on why van Gaal and his former star would have a falling out, but the situation strikes awfully strange considering he's been a mainstay on the national team for a decade now.

On the bright side, this month of turmoil may provide clarity. With the distraction of a potential Premier League stint and his international duties as captain behind him, his sole focus should shift to helping out Galatasaray.

And that's not a bad thing. Three matches into the Turkish season, the defending champions have scored only three goals and boast a plus-one differential. Their attack has been noticeably weaker than last year, where they were borderline unstoppable en route to a second consecutive championship. 

Early season holes don't necessarily negate Galatasaray from winning. But without Sneijder focused and in top form, things might get ugly quick for a club that came into the season with a host of questions. 

What's more, it's easy to look at these next couple months as an audition. Galatasaray aren't married to the idea of keeping him around for the duration of his contract; he's always been more of a short-term investment opportunity. For the Turkish side to have any chance of cashing that in, however, Sneijder has to play, and he has to play well.

Longing to be elsewhere won't accomplish anything. 

Wesley Sneijder won't be realizing his dream of playing in England this summer. Now it's time to prove he's still worthy of making that dream a reality in his current situation.


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