Manchester United assistant-boss Rene Meulensteen eyes Wesley Sneijder swoop

Manchester United assistant-boss Rene Meulensteen has claimed that he "could not think of a more ideal player for our team" than Wesley Sneijder.

Although Manchester City have played down talk a deal is imminent for Samir Nasri, it has been suggested in some quarters Sir Alex Ferguson has given up hope of luring the Arsenal midfielder to Old Trafford.

That would leave just two of the stellar names who have been heavily linked with United over the summer as potential replacements for Paul Scholes.

And as Luka Modric has already expressed a preference for Chelsea should he eventually leave Tottenham, Sneijder is the remaining target.

The Dutch playmaker's quality is not in doubt, as he proved in guiding Inter Milan to the Treble in 2010, when he was also part of the Holland team that reached the World Cup final.

Sneijder has previously expressed a liking for United too.

Yet obstacles remain to the possibility of a deal, including the 27-year-old's likely wage demands and uncertainty surrounding Inter's willingness to sell a player who still has four years remaining on his contract.

However, of one thing Meulensteen is certain. Sneijder would be a big hit if he did eventually make the switch.

"The new Paul Scholes doesn't exist, just as a new Roy Keane has never emerged, but Sneijder would fit perfectly here," Meulensteen told Dutch magazine Voetbal International.

"I cannot actually think of a more ideal player for our team.

"I say this not because he's a Dutchman. I've worked here for a while, I know the team inside out and I know he would be a great signing.

"He seems a perfect complement to the likes of (Javier) Hernandez, (Wayne) Rooney, Park (Ji-sung), (Ashley) Young, (Antonio) Valencia, Nani and (Ryan) Giggs.

"And, of course, Wesley has the necessary experience in top-level football.

"I don't know what his future is at Inter, whether he may leave or whether he's affordable.

"But, purely based on football skills, I say get Sneijder."

Although Meulensteen's words have not always come true, he was glowing in his praise for Ajax keeper Maarten Stekelenburg last season for instance after Edwin van der Sar had confirmed his retirement plans, it is hard to imagine such comments would be made without Ferguson at least being aware of them.

And they would certainly leave Sneijder in little doubt over the warmth his arrival at Old Trafford would generate, topping off, as it would, a virtually perfect summer following the arrivals of Ashley Young, David de Gea and Phil Jones.

Ferguson would regard Sneijder as being about to enter the peak years of his career, and given the ages of United's confirmed recruits it is little wonder Gary Neville has backed the youthful approach as two of his long-time team-mates prepare to follow him through the Old Trafford exit door.

Wes Brown and John O'Shea are thought to be inching closer to a departure for Sunderland, possibly by the end of the week.

With Neville retiring in the middle of last season, Van der Sar and Scholes hanging up their boots as well and Owen Hargreaves not offered a new contract, it has been a summer of change.

And De Gea and former Blackburn defender Jones, have not even celebrated their 21st birthdays yet.

With other promising youngsters emerging from last term's triumphant FA Youth Cup-winning team, Ferguson is clearly infusing his squad with a hunger Neville believes is an essential factor in United retaining top spot.

"United always buy players who have still got to climb to reach the top of the mountain," Neville told www.manutd.com.

"When you try and buy the finished article, it's always difficult, so you want hungry players.

"The best thing is to get people with a little bit of development to go as the manager always extracts the maximum out of players.

"That's the club's policy and always will be.

"There will be lots of investment in the top teams this season but I still see United being in pole position because of the continuity of the club and the manager."

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable