Manchester United have distanced themselves from reports linking the club with a move for Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder, with Sir Alex Ferguson claiming there is “no real interest” in the Dutchman.
Inter have denied receiving a bid for Sneijder, but rumours remain that the 27-year-old has been earmarked by Ferguson as a replacement for the recently retired Paul Scholes.
United have already spent more than £50m this summer, having added Phil Jones, Ashley Young and David de Gea to their Premier League-winning squad.
And, although Ferguson may have seemingly ruled out a bid for Sneijder, there remains a need for United to sign a creative central midfielder.
The Old Trafford club are 7/4 to retain their Premier League title this season, and Ferguson’s comments could be another example of the wily mind games which have become synonymous with his long reign.
United had reportedly offered £35m for Sneijder, but Inter technical director Marco Branca insisted there had been no “official offer” for the Champions League winner.
Sneijder himself has also expressed a desire to stay with the Nerazzurri, but the Italian club’s resistance could be tested should United flex their financial muscles.
Inter lost their grip on Serie A last season when their arch rivals AC Milan won the Scudetto after five consecutive titles for the blue and black half of Milan.
Inter are priced at 6/4 to reclaim the Serie A crown this term, and Sneijder will be integral to their hopes of winning any silverware.
But United have a rebuilding project in mind as they look to usher in a new era, with ageing players such as Ryan Giggs likely to join Scholes in retirement sooner rather than later.
And while Ferguson may have cooled interest in a move for Sneijder for now, a big-money bid from United for the Dutch playmaker should not yet be discounted.