The situation, as I keep being reminded every day of my working and personal life, is that people want to know what is happening regarding Wesley Sneijder and a potential move from Inter Milan.
So, take a seat, pour yourself a drink, and have a read. And then either disregard everything that is written, or believe certain bits. It's your choice but what I am writing is, to the best of my knowledge/contacts/thoughts in my head etc etc etc absolutely true.
Manchester United last summer spoke to Inter Milan representatives (guys who work for the big men in Italy) regarding Sneijder and whether they would sell. To United's surprise, the answer was not a flat out 'NO' but merely a 'show us what you got then'. It didn't really go much from there. There was one meeting face-to-face between both sides but as far as I am told/remember, United were told the asking price, without negotiation, was £35m. And then there were wages to factor. And the fact Scholes was still around.
United walked away.
Paul Scholes' decision to retire was a long time coming, but still a decision that surprised Manchester United somewhat. At the start of last season, there was talk between Scholes and Ferguson about how much he would play a part for the new campaign and then beyond. It was agreed Scholes would 'take a view' at the end of the season whether he'd stay on. Privately, Ferguson believed Scholes would stay.
DURING THE SEASON
Ferguson met Scholes many times after training and before matches (senior players like him, Giggs etc get more 'access' to longer chats with Ferguson) and gradually, Ferguson became concerned Scholes' time (in Scholes' eyes) was up.
AT THE END OF THE SEASON
Although Ferguson still hoped to keep Scholes on, his decision to quit surprised him somewhat. Ferguson, almost immediately, started planning for his replacement. This was not a snap decision - he's always had replacements in mind - but his decision now was 'who do I actively go for and make moves to buy'.
Wesley Sneijder has been spoken about at Old Trafford. The task to replace Scholes means you need to identify targets and he has been identified. Again, as same as the picture was last summer, United have held low level talks with Inter about Sneijder, and once again the situation is the same - Inter are open to selling him, as long as they get a lot of money in return. Do United have that money? I am sceptical. If they had the money to do it straight off, a bid would have been made officially by now, to give Sneijder the maximum time to settle at the club / make a money spinning appearance in America.
SO HOW DO UTD AFFORD HIM?
This is the only point of the transfer. Disregard whether they want him (they do), whether Inter will sell (they will), whether he wants to come (he's not fussed either way) whether other teams want him (not to my knowledge) and the like - the issue here is cold, hard cash.
Manchester United simply cannot afford to spend £35m on a player who will command £200,000+ a week wages (before tax). It is not financially viable for a club mired in debt with a player who is 27. Ferguson himself has suggested getting numerous players off the wage bill helped fund the three arrivals of De Gea, Young and Jones.
SO HOW DOES IT HAPPEN THEN?
Quite simply, someone has to back down. Either Inter accepts less money for Sneijder (unlikely, but if they want to sign Tevez there's a chance) or Sneijder accepts if he does want a new challenge, he will 'settle' for 'only' £170,000 (ish) before tax. Or, somehow, Manchester United manage to make money grow on trees and give Inter £40m and Sneijder £200,000 a week.
I doubt that a sponsor like Nike will be too pivotal in any negotiatons regarding money. Ignore them, as it's down to the two teams.
SO, WILL SNEIJDER SIGN FOR MAN UTD?
Nobody knows the answer to this question. So stop asking. And wait. Wait and see. Wait and see whether Inter accept a bid. Journalists don't know. Fans don't know. You don't know.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STAGE OF NEGOTIATIONS?
There isn't any stage. There are no talks currently. There won't be any talks until United return from America. Then, at Carrington, United will decide what to do r.e Sneijder. As I need to say once more, unless there is some leverage given or asked between the parties involved, this transfer won't happen.
People ask me what my thoughts are on Sneijder saying 'If I stay, I stay'. I don't have any thoughts on this. It's a boring, bland, non comittal statement. It says nothing so we don't need to give it too much attention. And just because Sneijder is being given an opportunity to say 'I WANT TO STAY' and he hasn't, in NO way does that mean he is off.
BUT THEY ARE INTERESTED, RIGHT?
Of course they bloody well are. I find it interesting how some journalists (no names mentioned) once claimed that 'Man Utd have not, and will not, show an interest in Sneijder' and then suddenly backtrack to clarify their statement a few days later. But, just because someone is interested in someone, doesn't mean it will end happy for all parties. You're interested in the hot bird at school/college/work/the pub, right? Well, just because you fancy taking her out for a pint and then getting busy, it doesn't mean it's going to happen, does it?
BUT UNITED WILL SIGN SOMEONE RIGHT?
Yeah, I think so. I assume so.
A CM? (If I ever hear 'cm' again I will scream)
Probably, yes. It's the one area United need improving in.
Manchester United are interested in signing Wesley Sneijder from Inter Milan. Whether they sign him is another matter. Nobody knows. Personally, I think it's 50/50 as I believe Sneijder would fancy a challenge in England. But whether he fancies it enough to play for less money (he's a footballer, they all want the best money possible) and whether United find his acquisition economically viable is another matter.
Now go and have a drink and let us never mention Wesley Sneijder until September 1st, 2011.