Of all the stories doing the rounds in the twice-yearly silly-season that is the transfer window, the one involving Wesley Sneijder is the most baffling.
This is the player who, just two years ago, was hailed as the man that should have beaten Lionel Messi to the Ballon d’Or, after the Dutchman’s majestic performances inspired his club to Champions League success and his country to the World Cup final.
And yet just over two years later, Sneijder seems to be on his way from Inter Milan to Turkish side Galatasary for a reported fee of £10 million.
In what sounded like an attempt to paint a far rosier picture of the situation than some football observers would suggest, Sneijder’s agent Soren Lerby told Gazzetta dello Sport:
“Now the decision lies with him, anything is possible in football and Turkey is fast becoming a hot destination.”
Hot it may be, at least in the literal sense of the word. But Sneijder’s preferred new home? I doubt it.
Following a contract dispute that has seen him make only five appearances all season, there is every chance he just wants to play. But at only 28, he may be wondering if he should have let his football do the talking a little more after those heady days of 2010.
Instead his mouth did most of it, to such an extent that it seemed his flirtations were as much with himself as with the clubs he name-checked.
In the summer of 2011, Sneijder spoke of “unofficial talks” with Manchester United. In fact, such is the media’s love affair with that potential move that it has been reeled out during every transfer window thereafter.
But whatever the reason it didn’t happen – excessive wage demands, alternative players bought in his place, or just because they were never actually interested – the Dutchman now finds himself making puppy-dog-eyes at United, and anyone else who’s looking.
Speaking of his client, Lerby said:
“If everything goes to plan the deal (to Galatasary) will go through. We will wake up tomorrow and everything will be more clear.”
Which is agent code for, “He’s signing for someone soon… Do you hear that far more appealing clubs? We will wake up tomorrow and be ready for your call.”