Friday, January 25, 2013

Wesley Sneijder joins Galatasaray from Inter Milan

Holland star Wesley Sneijder has permanently joined Turkish Super Lig giants Galatasaray.  The deal, reportedly for a fee of around €10 million, should be a snip for a player who at 28 years of age isn’t just still in his prime, but eminently capable of being one of the top five footballers in the world.

Sneijder’s time at Inter Milan had run its course.  His lavish wages – and perhaps his abrasive nature – didn’t fit with club President Massimo Moratti’s schemes for a leaner Internazionale; the result was his exile from the club in September for refusing a contract which would scale his wages back by a seven-figure sum.
Galatasaray’s fans went bonkers at Sneijder’s presentation, as well they might: the player is a precocious talent and is dressed entirely with the arrogance that often accompanies the artisan.

While the fact Sneijder was sold is interesting in itself, his impact on his new club will be well worth watching. While they are a quality team, Galatasaray are headlined by familiar names – Altintop, Riera, Melo, Elmander – rather than superstars.  It will be Sneijder (who will fit in slightly forward of Felipe Melo and behind Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz), Hamit Altintop and then then everyone else.  “The Smurf” will be called on to provide not only provide his trademark passing, but also a sense of the spectacular and confidence that Galatasaray are capable of beating anyone.

That he has moved reinforces again the nomadic nature of football.  While player movement has always been a fixture of the sport –Sneijder himself has moved emigrated three times – the number of truly great players who have changed club colours over the past five years is amazing. 

Scanning the Guardian’s recent list of the 100 best players in the world reveals that within that hundred, there have been 49 transfers since the conclusion of the most recent World Cup.  Twelve of these involve players listed as being in the Guardian’s Top 30.  Of those same 49, nineteen occurred before or during the current season.

Player movement is great.  It allows for a renewed interest not often seen in sports with salary caps, and provides for hope when perhaps the previous season there was none.  Even though Galatasaray are currently perched atop the Super Lig table, the addition of a world-class player like Wesley Sneijder gives their fans reason for excitement (and to set off flares) at the hope of further challenging Europe’s best teams.

No comments:

Post a Comment