By George Ankers
The prospect of Liverpool signing Wesley Sneijder could become a reality after Goal.com exclusively revealed on Wednesday that the Reds are stepping up their pursuit of the Inter midfielder.
But would it be the right move for the Anfield outfit? Goal.com considers whether or not Brendan Rodgers should snap up the Dutchman...
Two and a half years ago, signing Sneijder would have been a real coup for Liverpool. In 2010, at the peak of his considerable powers, he was the beating heart of an all-conquering Inter side who swept five trophies in a single year and so nearly powered Netherlands to victory at the World Cup.
More than a few eyebrows were raised when he failed to take home the Ballon d'Or that year. On the face of it, picking up a player of that calibre after so little time has passed would seem a fantastic achievement for a Reds team who are still trying to dig themselves out of a very deep, dark hole.
But Sneijder's career path has not gone quite how most would have expected it then. His influence has waned and his exorbitant wages have proven such a burden on Inter that he has been frozen out and desperately offered up to anyone willing to pay up. Still, though, you have to give consideration to his signature.
Sneijder is a superb passer of the ball and would surely be able to do some damage against the weak defences of the Premier League. His signature would be an ambitious step that might please major dressing-room figures such as Luis Suarez, who is considering his future, as well as fans hungry to recapture past success.
But do the Reds actually need a player like him? It's not so obvious that they do. In Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva they have two players who will surely be the key components of Rodgers' three-man midfield for years to come and, despite losing Nuri Sahin, will surely continue to play them alongside captain Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard himself may be the biggest reason why not to sign Sneijder. Apparently undroppable despite his ageing legs and fading powers, the skipper is no longer really mobile enough to move up into the front three and it is hard to see how both he and Sneijder could fit into the same engine room. The Dutchman has never been an all-action athlete, instead a more sedate pivot. Liverpool's midfield could become too slow and baggy.
Then there is the financial consideration. On an astronomical £200,000 per week at Inter, Sneijder would certainly not get the same at Anfield but he would still require a massive investment on top of a simple transfer fee.
The important work of clearing up money matters at Anfield is still in progress and the shifting of Joe Cole's massive wages to West Ham earlier this January were a step in the right direction. Does it make sense to replace one ageing playmaker's huge expenses with the same on a similar man?
It may simply come down to whether Rodgers feels that Sneijder still has it in him to recapture anything like the form of 2010. His ability is unquestioned but, before even accounting for his poor form before being dropped, the Dutchman has not played any real football since September. Can he reach that past peak for long enough before dipping again with age? Liverpool's answer to that question will become clear soon enough.
Is signing Sneijder too good an opportunity to turn down? Or has the Netherlands international had his day, making him an expensive risk? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below or on Twitter and Facebook!