Any minute now, Wesley Sneijder, the Dutch midfielder seemingly forever linked with big name clubs not named Inter Milan for the past year or so, will complete his January transfer to Turkish outfit Galatasaray for a reported €10 million. The Guardian:
The Super Lig club released a statement on Sunday which read: “The transfer of Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan has been agreed. The conditions of the deal will be made public and the player will sign the contract after health checks.”
A short conversation between the Inter president Massimo Moratti and Sneijder was released on the Serie A club’s website on Sunday evening, in which both parties revealed the Dutch international was close to calling time on a successful spell at the San Siro.
Reports in Italy and Holland suggested Sneijder and his agent Soren Lerby met with Galatasaray’s director Lutfi Arigogan in a Milan hotel to finalise the details of a three-and-a-half year contract.
Sneijder has not featured for the Nerazzurri since a 2-0 victory at Chievo in September after publicly refusing to take a €2m pay cut on a contract that ran until June 2015.
Taken together with rumours that Arsenal’s final decision to meet Theo Walcott’s wage demands was forced by their failure to find a buyer for the England forward, we start to see the faintest outline of a post-recession, post-Financial Fair Play pattern in European transfer deals.
Few would claim that either Sneijder or Walcott are poor players, or have suffered a sudden dip in form. Sneijder is 28, and in theory should be at his career peak. Despite failure to meet impossible expectations upon his emergence as an 18 year-old wunderkind in 2006, Walcott is still clearly a capable player, having provided Arsenal’s only real glimmer of anything against Chelsea on Sunday.
Sneijder may have refused to take a pay cut from Inter, confident he would simply be swooped up by a European contender. Galatasaray is certainly not a small club, but it’s a curious destination for a player long-linked with the likes of Manchester United.
It’s clear therefore that the age of clubs engaging in fierce bidding wars for proven talent may be at an end, or at least a pause. Expensive stars will either accept pay cuts in order to move on from their current club (as with rumours of Kaka’s return to AC Milan), or, if they have leverage within the club, staying on for higher wages rather than trying to find a big name buyer.
That’s probably pretty boring stuff for the transfer news freaks, but it does open up new avenues for lesser lights to take advantage of the lower prices on offer for European players (looking at you MLS!).
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