Wesley Sneijder completed his move to Galatasary yesterday, to the surprise of many in the game. The talented Dutch playmaker has been linked with a variety of clubs over the past six months since the wheels fell of his italian adventure. But a move to Turkey was surely never on the cards for Sneijder and his management team, until they realised that moving to Galatasaray was the only option. Stalling for a big move to the English Premiership with either United or City never materialised so the Dutch star, keen to escape from his Inter contract, with the Italian club delighted to move him on, finds himself moving to the current Super Lig leaders. The reception awaiting Sneijder whilst impressive will do little to dispel the disappointment that the player will be feeling that more clubs didn’t come in for him with a firm offer.
At only £8.3 million, Sneijder looks like a coup and could be the signing of the January transfer window as Galatasaray push ahead into the second half of the season both in the league and Champions League. Sneijder will be cup tied for the Champions League ties against Schalke but that will matter little to manager Fatih Terim who has already managed to mastermind qualification from Group H without Sneijder assistance. But with the player available and fit for league duties, Terim has increased his options by adding the creative midfielder to his squad. At only 28 years old, Sneijder still has some of the best years ahead of him, which makes his signing by Galatasaray and lack of interest from others, even more confusing. Granted as the biggest club in Turkey and one of the biggest in Europe, moving to Galatasaray still keeps the player in the public eye but having spent the best part of the last 3 months evangelising the Premiership, it appeared as though it would be only a matter of time before Sneijder ended up there.
Having come through the famous Ajax youth setup in 2002, it didn’t take long for Sneijder to cement his place in the first team and start to grow his reputation outside of Holland. Five years later and unable to resist tempting offers, Sneijder was sold to Real Madrid for £27 million, making him the second most expensive Dutchman behind Ruud van Nistelrooy. He become an instant legend at the club after scoring the winner on his debut against local rivals Atletico. It was also during this time that Sneijder finally made the midfield slot his own for Holland at Euro 2008, helping his country to a quarter-final appearance and winning a slot in the team of the tournament at the same time. In August 2009, Inter Milan came calling and offered Real €15 million for the player which was accepted. A new chapter began for Sneijder as he moved to Italy to play under Jose Mourinho as he engineered a domestic and european double, winning Serie A and the Champions League in Sneijder’s second year at the club. But when Mourinho departed to go to Real Madrid later that summer, Sneijder’s stock at Inter began to fall as he ran into a dispute about his contract. With the club demanding Sneijder take a pay cut in a new contract and with the player reluctant to do so, the path was set for the Dutch midfielder to exit the club. His agents have been hawking his name to Europe’s elite for some time now and has interested many but it appears to have been all talk now.
His advisors have likely told him to move to Turkey to keep his career on track, regain some form and then in a year or so, an offer may come from one of the top teams in England, Germany or Spain as hoped. It’s a risky plan but with no other option, the likely only one available. So Sneijder will move to Turkey and start the next chapter of his impressive career there with the slim hope that his agents are right. If they are not, his turkish delight could turn into a turkish nightmare.