Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Wesley Sneijder Would Keep Devils Atop EPL

Neri SteinFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2011

ROME, ITALY - MAY 29:  Wesley Sneijder of FC Internazionale Milano celebrates after the goal scored by Samuel Eto'o during the Tim Cup final between FC Internazionale Milano and US Citta di Palermo at Olimpico Stadium on May 29, 2011 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly very close to signing star midfielder Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan.

Sneijder has been one of the top names in the transfer market this summer with United always in the running to land him, and the Dutch playmaker recently confirmed he'd like to play for the 19-time English champions.

Sneijder also stated that "unofficial talks" have taken place between the two clubs, and the 27-year-old said he could be sold for the "right price."

Talks were really heating up in July over a proposed transfer, but Sir Alex Ferguson denied it, and it's entirely possibly this new hype is due to the now-cancelled friendly match between the Netherlands and England that was due to take place at Wembley on Wednesday.

However, United and their fans better hope there's more to it.

The Red Devils need a playmaker like Sneijder if they hope to retain their Premier League crown and especially if they want to avoid being completely outclassed by Barcelona in the Champions League, again. 

Sir Alex has had a successful summer so far, bringing in young defender Phil Jones, winger Ashley Young and goalkeeper David de Gea, and he got the season started with a comeback win in the Community Shield over "noisy neighbors" Manchester City.

But the biggest need for United is a replacement for the recently retired Paul Scholes.

Someone just like Scholes is obviously irreplaceable because of his dedication to the club for 17 years, but his position needs to be filled, and Sneijder is the man to do it.

Last season, the Red Devils won the league, but they were largely unimpressive in many matches, and that started with the midfield. When Scholes was out or couldn't get on the ball, United had trouble getting a foothold in the game.

Without him, United have a very big hole in the center of the pitch, but Sneijder has a similar style and can make up for the loss.  

Sneijder and Scholes both control the pace of the game from the center of the pitch, are threats to score from long range and are excellent at reading the game and setting off an attack with great passing or crossing.

Last season, Manchester City proved they are making more than just noise in the Premier League, and they've made some big signings this summer to prepare for their assault on the Champions League. 

Arch-rivals Liverpool have revamped this summer under Sir Alex's old foe, Kenny Dalglish, and will prove a threat to the Red Devils this year. 

Edwin van der Sar has been replaced, but his absence isn't as large as that of Scholes.

United are always right in the mix in the Premier League, but they will have a very difficult time retaining the title this year if Scholes' shoes go unfilled.