Inter swoop for Sneijder
Inter Milan today completed the signing of Wesley Sneijder from Real Madrid. Shortly after Madrid announced they had accepted an offer for the Netherlands midfielder, Inter confirmed the transfer had gone through with Sneijder passing a medical in Italy.
The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract at the San Siro and is tied to the Nerazzurri until June 2013. Sneijder joined Madrid in 2007 after five years with Ajax, and in his first season in Spain helped his new club win the Primera Division title.
No fee has been announced by Madrid but reports in Spain suggested the transfer will cost Inter in the region of 15million euros. Sneijder is the latest in a long line of players to leave Madrid this summer in the wake of the club's phenomenal spending spree that has seen them splash out over 250million euros on players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema.
Aside from Sneijder, his fellow Dutchman Klaas Jan Huntelaar has been sold to AC Milan, Alvaro Negredo has gone to Sevilla, while the likes of Javier Saviola, Michel Salgado, Gabriel Heinze, Fabio Cannavaro and Javi Garcia have also bid farewell to Madrid this summer. Another Netherlands international, Arjen Robben, has also left Madrid after today agreeing a four-year contract with German giants Bayern Munich.
Inter, who drew their opening game of the Serie A season at home to Bari, have been searching for a playmaker but appeared to have missed out on Sneijder when the Dutchman said he wanted to stay at Madrid. The reigning Italian champions had also previously been unsuccessful in their bid to sign Deco from Chelsea and had recently been linked to Sampdoria's Antonio Cassano, the former Madrid player.
However, the Nerazzurri have finally got their man and joins a squad that has already been boosted by the arrivals of Samuel Eto'o, Diego Milito, Lucio and Thiago Motta this summer.
Inter coach Jose Mourinho believes the club has all the weapons it needs to challenge for honours in Italy and Europe following the arrival of Sneijder. "Sneijder completes my team," said Mourinho. "I had asked for a central defender, midfielder, a playmaker and a forward. Everything has arrived, we are now complete.
"It is a pity that it didn't take place earlier as we would have had one and a half months to get ready in pre-season. As it is, we have a new squad with potential that will need time to gel but that has more potential and more balance than that of last season."
Sneijder said: "Inter is an incredible team, one of the best in the world. The road has been long but I am very happy to finally be here. I know what pressure is like and how to deal with it," said Sneijder. "I have played for Real Madrid. I can't wait to play and to show my worth in front of my new fans."
Sneijder will have a baptism of fire in an Inter shirt if he plays this weekend because the Nerazzurri take on city rivals AC Milan in tomorrow's derby. "I would love to play in it," said Sneijder. "It's a great game but the coach will have to decide."