The Sneijder lowdown

World Cup 2010: Sneijder puts Dutch ahead

Wesley Sneijder is this summer's most wanted man with both Manchester United and rivals Manchester City reported to be vying for the signature of the Inter Milan midfielder.

The 27-year-old has won league titles in Holland, Spain and Italy and helped his current club clinch the Champions League in 2010. It now appears the man with the golden touch is bound for the Premier League, although one of the sticking points is his reported wage demands - which some have suggested is anything between £200,000-a-week to £250,000-a-week.

So why is the high-earning £30m Dutch magician so coveted? We found out and asked Danny Blind, the former club captain who nurtured his career at Ajax.

WHAT ARE SNEIJDER'S QUALITIES?

Sneijder is an attacking midfielder who is quick thinking, comfortable using both feet and a brilliant link-up man for the forwards.

He developed those skills at the renowned Ajax youth academy which has produced such gifted players as Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Dennis Bergkamp and Johan Neeskens.

The Dutchman was in his early teens when former Netherlands defender Blind, who captained Ajax to the European Cup title in 1995, recognised he would go on to become a senior player for the Amsterdam club.

Blind suggested to then coach Ronald Koeman that Sneijder was a special player. Sneijder was given his first-team debut in 2003 against Willem II and then went on to spend five years with Ajax, winning the league title with the side in 2004.

Blind says:

"When he was 13 or 14 I knew he would make it. He was brilliant with both feet and could read the game.

"Wesley was technically good and was tactically bright. He wanted to win every game he played in. He had the drive to produce the best on the pitch."

SNEIJDER AS AN ATTACKING THREAT?

The Utrecht-born midfielder is a playmaker, lethal in the final third and strikes from distance with unerring accuracy.

Wesley Sneijder
Wesley Sneijder

At Ajax he provided the spark for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and later Klaas-Jan Huntelaar before he teamed up with likes of fellow Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robinho and Raul at Real Madrid.

But it is perhaps at Inter where he has flourished. The married father-of-one has been an integral part of the Milan side's mid-2000s revival.

His dazzling combination play with Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o and Diego Milito helped the Nerazzurri to the treble in 2010 under the leadership of Jose Mourinho.

He scored the equaliser for Inter in their 3-1 Champions League semi-final win against Barcelona and then provided the assist for Milito's first in the 2-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the final.

Blind says:

"You want to have a player like Wesley in your team. He can score goals, takes free-kicks and shoots with his left and right foot.

"He also knows what to do in a one-on-one situation. During his four years at Ajax he was a very important player, but you always knew he was going to go abroad eventually. We had hoped to keep him a little longer."

WILL SNEIJDER SHINE IN ENGLAND?

Sneijder should have no problems adjusting from the slower Serie A to the pacier Premier League.

He was an integral member of the Netherlands side that ripped Italy and France apart during the group stages at Euro 2008.

The second goal scored by Sneijder in the 3-0 win against Italy proved how dangerous the Dutchman can be in a counter-attack move - he read the play before positioning himself for the deft finish.

Wesley Sneijder

His Swiss timing and support play was evident again in the 2-1 win over Slovakia at the 2010 World Cup, when he was the first to meet team-mate Dirk Kuyt's lay-off to score his side's second.

Both United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and City manager Roberto Mancini would be salivating at the prospect of adding him to their squads.

No doubt some will also ask whether 5ft 7in Sneijder will be able to cope with the rough and tumble of English football.

Blind says:

"We never had doubts about that aspect. He was so eager and also got involved in the physical play.

"He's not tall but he's strong. He puts everything into a tackle.

"No one player can make the difference. You need the team. We all know how extremely good Barcelona is at the monent. It brings them further and makes Man Utd a better team."

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT SNEIJDER

Former Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho in 2009:

"He has a style which is unique for our squad, without him we are a different team. Strange that a player who is fundamental for us managed only the bench at Real Madrid."

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes in 2011:

"He's been brilliant for the last year or so with Inter Milan and Holland. I don't think it probably worked out as well as he would have liked at Real Madrid, but he's a top player.

"I'm sure there's a lot of clubs who will be after him if he is available."

Former Manchester United forward Eric Cantona in 2011:

"He is what Manchester United needs. There's no-one like him right now.

"He's strong. Sometimes he reminds me of myself."

Inter Milan head coach Gian Piero Gasperini in 2011:

"A player who plays well and also helps the team to play better is a great element to have, as he is capable of leading the team."

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