Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

TB On March - 8 - 2012

Inter-View: As the Sneijder Turns

After the summer transfer window shut on August 31, 2011, most Interisti were relieved to see Wesley Sneijder was still an Inter Milan player.  Sneijder’s summer holiday locale of Los Angeles was fitting, as the drama surrounding him was suited for Hollywood.  Everyone needed to know if Inter’s Number 10 was staying or would soon be on his way to Manchester.

It was decided that Samuel Eto’o was the one to be sold to Anzhi in Russia and Sneijder would be the one to stay.  Since then, much has been made of the talismanic Sneijder and where he fits in this current Inter squad.  His position on the field is something that has been closely examined since last summer, both under then coach Gian Piero Gasperini and current coach Claudio Ranieri.  It was difficult for Gasperini to find a formation that fit Sneijder, who has been utilized as the all-important trequartista during his Inter career.  It has also been difficult for the Dutchman to settle in under Ranieri, as injuries kept him out for the better part of two months.

Statistically, this may not be the Dutch genius’ most prolific season, but what he brings to the team are intangible factors that cannot be measured.  This past weekend showed the ‘grinta’ that Sneijder brings; a characteristic that one would only understand by watching a match.  Due to the difficulties that Ranieri has had integrating Sneijder into his formations, he opted to leave the midfielder on the bench for the start of the match against Catania.  In what will go down as one of the worst 45 minute segments in recent Nerazzurri history, Inter were down two goals to the Sicilian side by the stroke of halftime.  To say the performance was flat would have been an understatement.  Ranieri’s first change for the second half was bringing Sneijder on and the determination and desire was immediately apparent.  His presence elevated play on the field, igniting the fire that the Nerazzurri needed to claw a point from what seemed to be a disaster of a match.

Friday’s match versus Chievo should see Sneijder starting in his preferred trequartista position behind Diego Forlan and Diego Milito.  These three are the key players who provided such an energetic display of heart and determination as Inter came back from two down to snatch a precious point from Catania.  The question remains as to what this pivotal fixture will bring.  Will this side display the continuity from the previous 45 minutes, thereby signifying a key turning point to the Nerazzurri’s recent poor form?  Or will this latest “tinkering” only prove disastrous most likely leading to Ranieri’s dismissal?  Many questions will be asked and answered come Saturday for everyone involved.

As for Sneijder, it looks as though there is a sequel on the cards regarding his transfer drama come the end of this season.  Perhaps the story is more akin to a soap opera, as it was a story that never truly disappeared.  This past January, there were once again reports linking the Dutchman to Manchester, with the English papers almost making it seem inevitable that he will leave Inter this upcoming summer.

Sneijder may have a contract until 2015 but there are two main factors that will decide where he will be next season.  His decision will be dependent on who will be the successor of Ranieri as well as whether the Nerazzurri will be in the Champions League.  The latter is looking like a very distant possibility with Inter sitting in seventh with two months left. Also, whoever comes in as coach will be given the task of overhauling the squad and working on a new project.  When adding these two together, the reality of Sneijder staying looks bleak.

Whatever both Inter and Wesley Sneijder decide, it would be in every Inter and Serie A fan’s best interest to take a moment and enjoy watching the dynamic Dutchman.

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