Wesley Sneijder: The Player to Take Manchester United to the Next Level
After Ashley Young and Rafael Da Silva spoke about how highly they rate Wesley Sneijder, the Inter Milan star admitted he is sweet on a transfer to Manchester United, amid rumours of a £35million deal.
Since then, internet football forums have been buzzing, with many of the Old Trafford faithful praying for United to sign the flying Dutchman.
With money in the bank, pressure from big-spending rivals and the overwhelming backing of the fans, there's no reason for the Premier League champions not to make a move for the World Cup runner-up, especially if the club have aspirations of competing with FC Barcelona.
And so, here are four reasons why United manager Sir Alex Ferguson must sign Sneijder from Inter.
Last season in Serie A, Wesley Sneijder scored four goals and five assists in 25 matches, meaning he made a direct goal-scoring contribution to his team in two out of every five games.
He made more of a scoring contribution to his team than any of Manchester United's midfielders did in the 2010/11 campaign, and did so in less games than Michael Carrick (who made no direct goalscoring contribution) and Darren Fletcher.
He scored more goals than any of United's central midfielders, and made more assists than all apart from Fletcher, who ended the season with six in the Premier League.
Sneijder's career total for goals is 84 from 326 matches, which equates to more than a goal every four games, again higher than all of the Red Devils' key men in midfield.
Therefore, it's clear to see the signing of the Dutch playmaker would add an increased goalscoring presence from midfield, especially considering he also managed three shots per game last season, higher than any Inter or Manchester United player.
For Inter Milan last season, Wesley Sneijder made 60.1 successful passes per game, with a pass completion rate of 85 percent, the second best in Serie A.
Such statistics would also rank him as the best passer in the Premier League, with Tottenham Hotspur star Luka Modric (previously a Manchester United transfer target) ranking top with 58.22 successful passes per match.
Sneijder's completion rate also dwarfs the figures of United's current central midfield crop, with Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson all having a rate of 72 percent or lower.
Sneijder's stats also beat Paul Scholes, who had a pass completion rate of 81.3 percent in the 2010/11 campaign.
Considering Manchester United are a side who like to have their wingers cut inside, link up with a trequartista and play passing football through in the middle, such statistics would make the former Real Madrid man a prime player for the Red Devils.
Wesley Sneijder made 72 key passes last season, at a rate of 2.9 per game.
It's a remarkable achievement considering he missed 15 league matches, yet still finished as the fifth best key passer in the 2010/11 Serie A campaign.
The only Manchester United player who made more key passes was Nani with 78, but he did it in more matches (31 league starts compared to Sneijder's 22) and at a 21 per cent less efficient rate.
And the only reason some of the Dutchman's key passes weren't turned into goals is because Serie A is defensively the toughest major league in Europe, with only 955 goals scored in total last season, compared to 1063 in the Premier League.
Put Sneijder in England's top-flight and even more goals and assists are likely to flow from the flying Dutch playmaker.
Judging from the statistics, and based on a tactical viewpoint, the signing of Wesley Sneijder could well take Manchester United to within the level of FC Barcelona.
As a trequartista, Sneijder plays very far up the midfield, and doesn't often jump from third to third to defend—as proved by the fact he only wins one tackle and makes one interception every two matches.
He's previously played best in a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation, and doesn't immediately seem to fit in with the 4-4-2 which has served Manchester United so well over the years and again this time round in pre-season, with a lack of defensive cover he provides an apparent problem.
However, judging from his remarkably accurate passing stats which better all of United's central midfielders, Wesley Sneijder could easily be the man to help United play tiki-taka football in a 4-4-2 formation.
He would be by far the most accurate passer in the United team, giving them more security in their passing, while the likes of Darren Fletcher and Anderson have among the highest tackle success rates in the league for midfielders, meaning there's no shortage of good defensive cover when the team do lose possession.