Manchester United’s reported pursuit of Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder took a new twist this week when Sneijder revealed talks had taken place between United and the player’s representatives, as the Premier League champions look to replace the creativity of the retired Paul Scholes. Sneijder, also a reported target for United’s bitter rivals, Manchester City, is seen as the ideal replacement for Scholes, given the Dutchman’s form in recent years, including his key role in the Inter Milan side that secured a historic treble in 2010 under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
With Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini seemingly distancing himself from a move for Sneijder, City would appear closer to securing the signature of Arsenal midfielder, Samir Nasri. With the player reportedly growing frustrated at the absence of silverware and lack of high-profile signings at Arsenal, Mancini is rumoured to be attempting to combine the Frenchman with the likes of Yaya Toure, James Milner and David Silva in the City midfield and to join the ex-Arsenal contingent of Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy at the Etihad Stadium, as City look to add creative forces with European experience to their ranks, ahead of the club’s first Champions League campaign.
Another player chasing Champions League glory is Tottenham Hotspur’s Luka Modric, who has publicly declared his desire to move across London to Chelsea. As Chelsea fell short of expectations last season, many critics felt Chelsea lacked creativity, particularly in the extended absence of Frank Lampard. As Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres struggled to recreate their famously prolific goalscoring form, The Blues are rumoured to be keen to add creative options to their side across the field.
As Liverpool look to rejoin Europe’s top table, the addition of Charlie Adam will offer an extra attacking threat from midfield, alongside Steven Gerrard, but with Kenny Dalglish believed to be considering bringing Alberto Aquilani back into the fold following a loan spell, a Liverpool side struggling for creativity and firepower at the beginning of last season are also looking for deeper-lying attacking options.
Following a season where those chasing honours dropped points in unexpected places, the top clubs appear to be looking to break down the stubborn resistances that cost their sides points. In a modern era where teams further down the league table look to contain and stifle the more dominant attacking style of the top clubs, the inclusion of such playmakers could prove crucial to unlocking well-organised defences and offering an alternative method when forwards become isolated by their markers and denied space by the opposition. As this summer’s transfer activity hots up, the chase for Europe’s top creative talent could go a long way to deciding the race for honours.