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What would Wesley Sneijder bring to Liverpool’s table?

Just over three years ago, the former Ajax and Real Madrid playmaker was being mentioned in the same breath as Messi, Ronaldo and Iniesta. This was after he had jinked his way to a UEFA Champions League winner’s medal with his current club Inter and shot his Holland side to the 2012 World Cup final, scoring five goals and finishing joint top scorer.

On reflection, perhaps Sneijder should have found a new challenge then, rather than deteriorating along with the fortunes of Inter after the departure of Jose Mourinho. A move to the Premiership helped Rafael van der Vaart, a player who began his early career at Ajax with Sneijder, rejuvenate his own form after two frustrating years at the Bernabeu – a hell that Sneijder has also endured.
After two years at Tottenham, van der Vaart has a decent strike rate of one goal every three matches, having adapted to life in England quickly. In Sneijder, Brendan Rogers would be acquiring an intelligent, experienced and creative midfielder who could become the conductor of the side’s two lynchpins – Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard.

Connecting the pieces

Liverpool currently face the problem that they are far too over reliant on Suarez to score goals as well as provide opportunities for others. Thankfully, Roger’s lack of striking options has forced the Uruguayan to fulfil the role of an out and out goal scorer, leaving room for a more withdrawn forward behind him to help him out.
Unfortunately, Steven Gerrard can’t do this any more and is best deployed in a deeper position spraying his famous passes around the midfield and getting into shooting positions with later surges. Pity really, if only Gerrard had been five years older than Lampard in Euro 2008, I reckon England might have just won that tournament with those two in midfield.
Thus far, it’s been left up to players such as Jonjo Shelvey and even Raheem Sterling, a wide player by nature, to bridge the gap between Gerrard and Suarez. In 2010, there would have been no one better than Sneijder to slot in, but I think even after three stale years at the San Siro he could be a vital piece to the Liverpool jigsaw.
He provides another steady head to help Steven Gerrard martial the inexperienced players around them: Sterling, Shelvey, Wisdom and Suso. As a joint Golden Boot winner, he adds another much needed goal threat. And ultimately, he’s just a really good player! Capable of performing an advanced playmaker or even trequartista role, Sneijder’s ability to find space and use it effectively could be a real breath of fresh air at Anfield.
While the deal is yet to be confirmed, Sneijder has reportedly agreed to take a pay cut to make the move to Merseyside happen. In the modern era, that speaks volumes about a player’s personality and desire to play football. The Kop could easily fall in love with this guy but only time will tell.

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