Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Why Wesley Sneijder Should Be the Blues' No. 1 Target
As Guus Hiddink will most likely be returning to London as Chelsea manager, the club must look to make key acquisitions during the summer transfer window.
After a trophy-less season, owner Roman Abramovich is determined to bolster the current squad. With Liverpool and Manchester United already confirming key signings, the Blues must move quickly to land some of their marquee targets.
Chelsea have been linked with Tottenham midfielder Luka Modric and Palermo playmaker Javier Pastore in recent weeks. Although the Blues have an abundance of talent in the attack and defense, the club lacks a traditional No. 10 in the midfield.
Aside from hiring a new manager, signing a central attacking midfielder has become the main focus for Chelsea.
While the aforementioned players would be great additions, Abramovich should be willing to fight Manchester United for Internazionale's midfield maestro.
Dutch international Wesley Sneijder should be the Blues' No. 1 target this summer.
Here are five reasons why the playmaker should be Chelsea's top priority.
Range of Passing
With the ball at his feet, Inter's Wesley Sneijder is a serious threat from midfield.
The Dutchman boasts exceptional passing range, as he can play the short one-two's and hit the long diagonals as well. Sneijder's ability to spread the play gives the team more width and space in the final third.
Although the Inter star can hit the raking cross-field pass, he also combines well in the middle of the pitch. Sneijder has the ability to find the killer through-ball, with the skill and vision to see a pass through multiple defenders.
While Chelsea stars such as Florent Malouda and Frank Lampard are accomplished passers, the Dutch World Cup star would provide that exceptional range of passing from an attacking midfield position. It is still unclear what formation or tactical system the Blues will use next season. However, Sneijder would give the manager a natural playmaker that can play in behind the strikers.
The Blues do not have a true No. 10 that plays in the hole, drifting into space and floating into dangerous positions. Sneijder would not only fill that void in the first team but also gives them a dynamic passer that can unlock defenses and dictate tempo.
Sneijder distinguishes himself from the majority of playmaking midfielders with his ambidexterity.
The Dutch World Cup star can pass and shoot with both feet, making him one of the most dynamic players at the position. Sneijder's ability to spread the ball with either foot opens up significantly more passing angles. The Inter maestro can see and hit through-balls that other playmakers would not attempt.
The Dutchman's ambidexterity is key to the team's buildup play as well. Sneijder dictates the passing tempo and rhythm, using both feet to keep possession and relieve pressure from tight spaces.
Although the Dutchman has earned rave reviews for his expansive passing, his ability to shoot with both feet makes him a serious dangerman from in and around the box. With his superb technique, Sneijder can use either foot to strike the ball with power and accuracy.
The Dutchman's ambidexterity and technical brilliance make him a threat to create and score from anywhere on the pitch.
The Inter maestro's shooting ability makes him an elite talent at the attacking midfield position.
Sneijder can score from the run of play and set pieces. The Dutchman boasts a fierce shot, striking through the ball with real venom and pace. In addition to his powerful shooting, the Inter maestro has great accuracy from in and around the box.
The Dutchman has become one of the most feared long-range shooters in the world, with his ability to strike from distance with either foot. Sneijder has the quickness to manufacture his own shot and the technique to test opposing goalkeepers.
The Inter star is a goal-scoring threat from dead-ball situations as well. Sneijder has a great dynamic on his free-kicks, with the power and curl to get over the wall, under the bar and past the keeper.
Although Pastore and Modric have good shooting technique, Sneijder is significantly more dangerous from distance. The Inter maestro is a world-class distance shooter and a cut above the aforementioned playmakers linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.
With the Dutchman's ability to deliver spectacular goals, Sneijder should be considered the Blues' No. 1 target this summer.
In addition to his shooting ability, Sneijder boasts great creativity from midfield.
Although the Dutchman may not have the flair and inventiveness of Javier Pastore, the Inter star is a clever player on the ball. Sneijder has exceptional vision, seeing acute angles and tight openings.
The Dutchman's ingenuity and eye for the pass makes him a dangerous creative threat for club and country. With his ability to find killer through-balls from anywhere on the pitch, Sneijder has emerged as one of the top playmakers in the world.
The Inter No. 10 is not the type of attacking midfielder to beat defenders on the dribble with pace and flair. Instead, Sneijder uses his quickness and strength to make space and find the incisive pass.
Malouda has become the main creative threat for Chelsea in recent seasons. However, the Frenchman is more comfortable playing out on the left than through the middle. Whether the Blues' next manager plays four or five in the midfield, Sneijder would allow Malouda to focus on his duties left-winger.
The Dutchman is the attack-minded, creative threat that Chelsea having been lacking in the middle of the pitch.
The Dutch international would provide class and composure on the ball, spearheading the Chelsea attack. Sneijder's passing skill and creativity could elevate Fernando Torres' level of play. The Spaniard failed to impress for the Blues last season.
However, by signing a true playmaking No. 10, Abramovich could see the striker return to his best form. With his vision and telling through-balls, Sneijder would carve open excellent opportunities for the struggling Spaniard.
Although Luka Modric would be another excellent option, he is more of a true central midfielder. The Croatian has excelled playing alongside the likes of Sandro and Wilson Palacios, giving Rafael van der Vaart more freedom in the attack. Sneijder is the more natural attacking midfielder and would be a perfect fit for the Blues.
Strength and Mentality
Although small in stature, Sneijder is a strong, tough and quick attacking midfielder.
Standing at 5'7'', there are major concerns over the player's ability to succeed in the physically demanding EPL. However, the Inter maestro has good strength and rarely gets shrugged off the ball. The Dutchman plays with fire and tenacity, which would translate well to the English game.
While Sneijder does not have the blistering pace to worry defenders, he is quick in tight spaces. The midfielder has good agility and creates separation from markers with his short bursts of speed.
Although Pastore has the technical skill to excel in a Chelsea shirt, he does not have the physical strength to cope with the English game. Stronger defenders can knock the Palermo midfielder off the ball. While Pastore may be the more natural and graceful playmaker, Sneijder is better suited for the EPL.
The two Italian-based players would take time adjusting to the pace and physicality of England's top-flight. Modric, on the other hand, has already proven that he can handle the tough-tackling style of play.
The Croatian's EPL experience could push him above Sneijder on Chelsea's summer wish-list. However, in addition to the Dutchman's passing, shooting and creativity, the Inter star has rare intangibles.
Sneijder plays with a distinct hunger and determination to win. Although his emotions can get the better of him, the midfielder displays a strong winner's mentality. The Dutchman's drive and desire would be welcomed at Stamford Bridge.
While the current Chelsea side is already amongst the best in Europe, the club needs to find a true No. 10 to provide that creativity and playmaking ability from the middle. Abramovich has already been linked with a number of the elite attacking midfielders in the world.
Inter's Dutch maestro has all the technical abilities and intangibles to lead Chelsea to their first Champions League title. Although Pastore and Modric would be excellent additions to the Blues, Sneijder should be the club's No. 1 target this summer.