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Jul 14, 2011

Sneijder reports persist despite denial

Reports continue to suggest Manchester United are closing in on a deal for Wesley Sneijder despite Sir Alex Ferguson insisting he is not interested in the Inter Milan star.

Fergie denies Sneijder rumours

• Schaerlaeckens meets Ferguson
Inter: Sneijder not for sale
United bid in the balance

United have long been linked with Sneijder, 27, as they seek a replacement for Paul Scholes, and coach Rene Meulensteen suggested a move was on the cards when he described the midfielder as an "ideal" signing.

However, Inter director Marco Branca said this week that Sneijder is "not for sale" unless a "mega-galactic" offer arrives, while the player had earlier said he was happy at the club.

Ferguson was most conclusive as he told ESPN that there was no truth at all to the story.

"I keep reading about this. There's absolutely nothing at all to that," Ferguson said. "First of all, I don't think Inter are prepared to sell him anyway. You get conjecture and you get speculation every week in newspapers, unfortunately.

"And you have to answer these for some reason - why I don't know - but we have to still find a reason without adding insult to any particular club or embarrassing any particular player. That's just the way it happens and there's nothing we can do about it."

"There is no real interest at this moment in time in Wesley Sneijder,'' The United boss added.

Although the underlying theme of his comments suggested there might have been discussions over Sneijder at some point. "I have not been involved in this situation,'' Ferguson said.

United later told ESPNsoccernet that the club are "definitely not in for him [Sneijder]."

Meanwhile, FIFA agent Peppino Tirri said that he did not expect the deal to go through as United would struggle to come up with an acceptable bid. "Frankly, I don't think the British club have enough free funds to convince [Inter president Massimo] Moratti to sell his jewel," he told ilsussidiario.net.

ESPNsoccernet sources, though, have indicated that the problem with the deal has been down to Sneijder's wage demands, and various reports in England claim that a transfer fee in the region of £35 million has been agreed.

Former United midfielder Nicky Butt believes the club are willing to invest in Sneijder and that he would be an inspirational signing.

"They are prepared to spend a lot of money to get Sneijder but it will be worth it because he really is a top-drawer player and he will make a huge impact at Old Trafford if the transfer comes off," Butt told Goal.com.

"He is clearly first-class and I am sure that the experience he has gained at Real Madrid and Inter Milan will stand him in good stead for the challenges ahead at United because it's a tough place to ply your trade."

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk believes Sneijder would benefit from a move to Old Trafford.

"A transfer to Manchester United would only make Wesley a better player," he said in The Sun. "He has already played for top teams like Real Madrid and Inter Milan but United would be another step forward for him - not only because of their football and their way of thinking, but also because it would be a new challenge for him. That is often very inspiring for players and gives them new energy.

"It would also be advantageous for the Dutch national team. Manchester United's game is closer in style to ours than that of Inter. With us, Wesley has a long time on the ball. He is involved at all times and is dangerous with his passing and shots on goal. In Italy, he plays deeper and must compete against five or six defenders.

"The way we play allows Wesley to make his mark on the game and it would be the same if he played for United. I think he would fit in well there."

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