Reports confirm that Martin O’Neill is interested in bringing Real Madrid central midfielder Wesley Sneijder to Aston Villa. Having spent £210 million on a new set of Galacticos, it is no secret that Los Blancos need to offset their spending, with all non-essential personnel available for sale if the price is right.
Sneijder began his career at Ajax and made 126 appearances netting 43 goals, an excellent return from a non-forward. Then, at 22-years-old, the Dutchman’s excellent form caught Real’s attention and a fee of €27 million was agreed between the two clubs.
In the two seasons he has spent at Los Blancos Sneijder has claimed 11 goals in 52 games. While not always starting for Madrid, his overall form has been positive at the Bernabeu, and he was rewarded by being handed the coveted No.10 shirt after Robinho departed Real to join Manchester City.
Standing at 5'7" the diminutive midfielder is a general. Sneijder is strong in possession and is difficult to bully off the ball. He is two-footed, has excellent passing range, and possesses fantastic technical ability. Complementing all of this is his dynamic engine which allows him to act as a box-to-box midfielder. In addition he is a dead-ball specialist.
The one drawback is Sneijder’s injury record. Over the past two seasons he has missed four months due to knee injuries, not a good sign for a young player. In the hurly-burly world of Premier League football, midfielders with sturdy knees are a necessity if they are to compete, and play week in, week out.
(Sneijder’s knee injury picked up against Arsenal can be seen here.)
Sneijder would be an excellent acquisition for Villa. While some commentators have suggested teenager Fabian Delph was acquired to replace former captain Gareth Barry, Delph still needs time to mature. As such, the Dutch maestro would fit in perfectly into Villa’s midfield. Providing O’Neill with the strength in depth needed across the middle of the park.
However, bringing in Sneijder may prove a bridge too far for O’Neill. Soren Lerby, the player’s agent, has stated that the Dutch No.10 is determined to stay and fight for his place at Real. Further, it is doubtful that a player of such ability and stature will want to move to a club that can not offer him Champions League football.
Especially considering he turned down a move to Old Trafford last summer.
Although O’Neill’s powers of persuasion are legendary and the €19 million transfer fee offered is an attractive one, it is highly doubt he will be wearing Villa’s claret and blue next season.
Video evidence of Wesley Sneijder can be seen here.