Flirtatious Sneijder not the answer for United


Speculation claiming Wesley Sneijder could join Manchester United shows no sign of abating, even after the closure of the January transfer window.

The 27-year-old's proposed move from the San Siro to Old Trafford has been one of the most prominent transfer rumours in recent memory but, as of yet, there has been no foundation to go with the conjecture.

Sneijder has always maintained that he is content with life at Inter Milan, but has often flirted with the suggestion of signing for Manchester United.

When asked this week about the supposed interest of Sir Alex Ferguson in his signature, Sneijder did not categorically deny any contact but only moved to claim there has been no firm approach.

"There have never been any concrete contacts with Manchester United," Sneijder told Nos. "I see everything, I am not blind, but there is nothing concrete right now."

The need for the acquisition of a player with possessing the creative talents of Sneijder seemed abundantly clear for United during the summer, following the retirement of Paul Scholes.

Ferguson though, for whatever reason, chose not reinforce his midfield despite being linked with not only Sneijder, but also Samir Nasri and Luka Modric.

It had been claimed United could make a move for Sneijder during January, but the temporary return of Scholes put paid to any suggestions that a deal might be completed.

Of course, come the end of the season, the Holland international will be linked with United once more - provided he does not move to Russia before the close of the window - but it is time the Premier League champions moved on from Sneijder.

Last summer, the loss of Scholes felt like a bereavement and the possibility of finding a worthy replacement seemed like an almost impossible task.

It was thought that Ferguson would have to break the bank to sign a a successor, and Sneijder was identified as the player most capable of filling Scholes' boots.

However, nine months on and with Tom Cleverley close to full fitness once again, the need for a significant midfield addition seems entirely irrelevant.

This, of course, has been aided by the return of Scholes, but also the potential of Cleverly, who is quite possibly the finest example of a long-term replacement for the United veteran.

Despite having only featured five times in the league for United this season, Cleverley looked assured and cultured having been immediately drafted into the first-team following an impressive loan spell with Wigan.

Injury has halted the 22-year-old's progression, but he demonstrated enough in his few outings this term to suggest he is a player of supreme talent.

Cleverley provided one assist during his five appearances at the start of the season, while registering an impressive pass completion percentage of 90.

Although Sneijder can boast a better assist ratio than Cleverley this season with four goals created in 15 outings, the former Ajax star's pass completion stands at 81 percent in Serie A.

A comparison of statistics might not be fair given the contrast in the amount of onfield action for each individual this season, but they certainly make for intriguing reading.

Cleverley's star, meanwhile, will continue to rise in Manchester in the coming months and the chance to operate alongside Scholes in the United midfield will hasten his progression.

The youngster is already incredibly highly regarded at United, and Ferguson recently eulogised about Cleverley's 'special' talents.

As often seems to be the case with the United boss, he is vindicated for debatable decisions in the transfer market and the decision to overlook Sneijder will prove to be no different.

Cleverley could return to the fold against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon and, by the end of the season, United fans will be questioning why they ever wanted Sneijder in the first place.

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