Tuesday December 4 2012
Right strategy, wrong player

Inter’s decision to start a cost-cutting exercise mid-season with one of the best players in the world is bizarre, writes David Swan.

There was only so long that Inter could convince us that Wesley Sneijder’s injury was taking time to rehab before they had to be truthful with the situation, if only for the sake of their medical staff, who were looking increasingly foolish as the story dragged on.

The truth, now that the renegotiation of his contract is out in the open, creates even more unanswered questions than before. The official line is that Inter want to reduce their wage bill, and as top earner, and the joint highest paid player in Italy at €6m per season, Sneijder must be the first to take a cut.

The move to cut wages makes perfect sense from the club’s point of view. Financially they are not in great shape and, like their city cousins, salaries is an area where cutbacks need to be made.

But their choice of player to start the operation – a 28-year-old international who is one of the best in the world, and at his peak in terms of age – is bizarre, and only leads to more rumours and hypotheses. The most popular of which is that Coach Andrea Stramaccioni no longer wants him at the club. It is not beyond the realms of possibility for that to be the case, but a number of factors do not quite fit.

Tactically, it has been difficult to work Sneijder into the team for some time. Numerous Coaches have had trouble finding a balance when Sneijder plays as a trequartista in a 4-3-1-2, as it leaves too many players contributing little defensively, and recreations of Jose Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1, with the Dutchman reprising his favoured role, have caused problems because they have been unable to convince the wide players to work in the way the Portuguese tactician convinced Samuel Eto’o and Goran Pandev.

Yet Stramaccioni’s 3-4-3-esque system, with Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano playing behind and generally around Diego Milito, appears to have two spots that Sneijder could fill without really affecting the balance of the team. Cassano is not known as a workhorse, and Palacio, although better in this regard, is hardly reaching Eto’o levels of defensive work and tracking. It seems strange to assert that the No 10 cannot fit in a system that is playing three forwards, two of whom have licence to roam, and that offer little coverage defensively.

The fact is nobody actually knows whether he can fit because he has not been given the chance. Inter first started a League game with a three-man defence against Chievo in September, coincidentally the game where Sneijder went off with injury and has not been seen in an Inter shirt since. So his chances in Stramaccioni’s new methodology have amounted to 26 minutes against the Verona outfit.

The idea that the team are worse off defensively is not backed up by numbers. Under Stramaccioni, Inter concede a goal every 67 minutes without Sneijder, compared to a goal every 61 minutes when Sneijder is on the pitch, a difference that is not large enough to warrant labelling him either way.

If Stramaccioni really believes he does not fit, then why not be decisive and make it clear he is for sale? If he genuinely does not want him, then leaving him out of squads, or on the bench, would send the message. He tried to claim that Sneijder’s absence has nothing to do with the contract situation, but it smacks of a Coach toeing the club line, especially given Cassano’s recent two game suspension.

This nonsense is designed to shovel the blame into the player’s camp – if he demands a transfer the club can always claim they wanted to keep him. It is no surprise that he has refused to sign the deal – no-one in his circumstances would. But now you have a situation where the club are determined to have him agree to reduced terms, and a player who will not even countenance the idea until he is back playing games.

There is no reason not to believe the official line, even if it is monstrously heavy-handed way of going about it, and a slightly flawed operation when your first attempt at implementing a structure is to reduce the wages of a star, as opposed to two 32+ year-old Argentines on more than €4m. But if the club are given a choice between keeping Sneijder on €6m a year or making cuts, a choice that it looks likely they will face, the latter will probably win out.

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Have your say...
whatever anybody thinks about WS he signed a contract that was offered to him and he at the moment is honouring that contract by making himself available to play and turn up for training. Whether he is picked or not is irrelevant he still has to be paid. If Inter refuse to pay him what the contract states he can take them to court for breach of contract. He should stay exactly where he is and screw Inter for all they've done to him!
on the 5th December, 2012 at 9:10pm
Come 2012, Inter move aggressively than ever to trim its financial burden.

Sneijder is latest to be woken up to the hard truth. We all love him even if he haven't repay the 6m/year salary with on par performance since Mou left.

Agree that the Management should handled the situation better. Moving forward, Inter and Sneijder should part company for the best of both parties. It'll be interesting to see if he can performed like he did in 2010 at other team.
Bye Sneijder.. Thanks 4 the memory.
on the 5th December, 2012 at 11:35am
Once upon a time ago, Moratti always have this strong fixation with super star players and I believe the betrayal by the "real Ronaldo" represented the catalyst of change of mindset at Inter management.

From that point, Inter started to harden its stance against super star players. No more building of Inter team around them. The period of having Ibrahimovic at Inter threaten that position but thankfully he was sold for crazy money. Inter changed for the better and win the treble afterwards.
on the 5th December, 2012 at 11:17am
In my opinion Sneijder should have been one if the first players to have been asked to reduce wages in the offseason. Players that loved the shirt like JC were let go because of contribution, €, injuries. After treble year Sneijder hun up his boots and when he didn't be was injured. You can't plan production in any market with unaccountability and no foresight, Sneijder at €6M is an anchor on the team. We resurrected his career, and payed him well, its not been a two way street for while, ciao
on the 4th December, 2012 at 3:24pm
This is not good for Inters dignity. Esp during an imp. season, now focus turns to ignorance of mgt. This is extremely unprofessional, treatment not worthy of a player like Sneijder! Who would want to play for a team like this? That doesn't respect the players(Branca)?
We have downgraded our club. 6m €/year for the best Nr.10 in the world, what's that?! It's spare change!
I hope ManU get him, pay him, so we can all be amazed on how good he is come May.
No no Inter, this is not the club I love!
on the 4th December, 2012 at 3:02pm
I can't believe people are blaming Sneijder. Yes the club has been reducing wages since the summer, and that would've been the right time to ask Sneijder to take a pay cut, not in the middle of the season. I'm an Inter fan and I'm absolutely furious at the way some players have been treated. I know the club is bigger than any one player, but that doesn't give the club executives the right to use terrorist tactics on the players.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 2:28pm
This is what some people don't understand: While the idea of cutting wages is a great thing for Inter, the club is going about it completely the wrong way. Maicon, JC, and Lucio would have gladly taken pay cuts had Inter gone about it correctly.
When the club holds the player's contract hostage and freezes them out of the squad until they sign a new contract, there is little the player can do. As a matter of principle no player would then agree to the demands of the club.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 2:25pm
You all understand that Milito and Cambiasso have already agreed to new, lower contracts right?

So the idea that Wes's situation is somehow unique or "cRaZy" is completely wrong, right?

The guy is always injured and he's not tactically flexible. The team wins without him.

Everyone at the club is taking lower wages or being shipped out. That's the new reality. The sooner everyone gets used to that idea, the sooner we can get past the "what are they doing?" "I don't get it?" "Der Duh Der"
on the 4th December, 2012 at 1:33pm
To me Sneidjer has been out of sorts since Mou left. He has done nothing to warrant being in the Inter first team. Since then his performances have been characterised by constant bickering (/awful body language) and frankly poor performances. As you pointed out he is a luxury and needs to be propped up in a team of "workers" - Inter cannot give him this at the moment. I think Inter could do a great piece of business by offloading him - for €20M+ if possible.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 1:13pm
Since when are they starting this wage reduction with Wes , they have been reducing the wages of the squad for the last 2 seasons!Wesley Sneijder is the highest earning player in the league and he is hardly playing so of course it makes sense to look at making some changes with his deal.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 1:05pm
As a fan i really admire sneijder but inter as club have to defend there financial obligation so that they wouldn't enter into administration as some europe club are into but i we advise wes base on my view because wes have to look back when thing are not in order with him that only inter comes for is rescue during is difficult situation that he face at real madrid but am not perfect but i we like him to put it into consideration and flag the nerrazurri with the other inter legend.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 1:04pm
This guy is one of the most overrated and overpaid players in world football. He plays two or three games, then is out for the next four or six weeks with an injury. When he does play, he very rarely does anything special. He comports himself poorly on the pitch, and seems only to play with any passion when he wears an orange uniform.

On the other hand, Inter is handling this matter very poorly. Unfortunately, they waited too long to unload this player. It should have been done last year.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 12:53pm
You are missing one important factor.

There would be no problem paying 6 million euro a wage for world class Sneijder...

... if he wasn't constantly injured and take 2-3 games to return to form. Basically, Inter is paying 6 million euro a year for player who can offer max 10 very good games a season.

We can get a player who is younger, lesser wage, maybe slightly not as good, but can play 30 league games a season, who offers us instead of 10 very good games 20 good games and 5 very good games
on the 4th December, 2012 at 12:21pm
As a fan of Holland NT, I could only say my condolence to Wes' situation in his current club. It is a shame that they treat one of the best attacking midfielders in the world so poorly, as though he is going to enter his mid 30s, as what they did to Lucio, Forlan, and JC at the start of the season.
As a Juventino, I could only welcome him to join Juve to replace age-threatened Pirlo and he'll play well behind Seba and Mirko.

Fino alla Fine, Forza Juventus!
on the 4th December, 2012 at 11:44am
Since when does anything that Inter do makes sense! Think of all the gems they've let go in the past! Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Seedorf, Pirlo, Balotelli, Eto, Santon, Destro!
on the 4th December, 2012 at 11:25am
I`m a diehard INTER fan right from the beginning of watching football and I have to admit that I'm embarrassed by this akward situation. I usually fully support our management and decisions, given the fact that we have our own mentality and philosophy of life, but this time I believe INTER made a mistake in not playing Sneijder due to lack of answer on their contract proposal. Sneijder is GEMINI zodiacal sign, he has to feel appreciated and valued in order to be happy.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 11:20am
It does seem as if we are sabotaging ourself, but this was all started off by Branca's comments and Stramaccioni was forced to deny it was the reason.

It would have been more acceptable to do this in the summer citing our league position - if we don't finish in the CL positions ask him to take a page cut.

Also more research is needed - Milito and Cambiasso are up for renewals soon, and will be asked to take a substantial paycut
on the 4th December, 2012 at 10:46am
a badly run club what dya expect!
on the 4th December, 2012 at 9:32am
If a team and player is doing well, the agent wants an increase in wages for the player. if the opposite is true why shouldnt the club ask for a reduction.
I like Sneider, but no man is a team, and Inter are exceeding expectations without him. Play the kids.
on the 4th December, 2012 at 8:45am

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