By Sergio Chesi & Wayne Veysey
Manchester United have agreed a £35.2 million club record fee with Inter for the transfer of Wesley Sneijder, Goal.com can reveal.
- Chief executive Gill flies to Milan for talks
- Sneijder tough enough to show he is worth £35m – Butt
- Van Marwijk urges midfielder to join United
Nevertheless, the Premier League champions are hoping to reach a compromise over the £30,000-a-week difference as the prospect of a switch that would smash United's transfer record grows increasingly likely.
Senior officials from the two clubs are understood to have shaken hands on the terms of the deal after United chief executive David Gill made it clear the Premier League champions are willing to meet Inter's asking price in a series of meetings in recent days.
United have confirmed that Gill was in Zurich on Wednesday, where an Inter delegation was also present, to attend a European Club Association meeting but an Inter source told Goal.com that he had been in Milan on Tuesday and early on Wednesday to lead Sneijder negotiations with another Old Trafford director.
United's focus will now turn to agreeing personal terms with the Holland international, who is regarded by the club as a natural heir to the recently retired Paul Scholes. An official bid will follow if the 19-times English champions are confident they can meet the player's demands.
It is believed that the 2011 Champions League finalists could attempt to meet the shortfall in the two parties' positions with bonus-related payments or an enhanced image rights deal.
Sneijder is currently at Inter's pre-season training camp at Pinzolo in Italy. The deal will now depend on his desire to force through a move to Old Trafford, which offers him an excellent chance to add to an already impressive medal haul which includes domestic titles in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, in addition to the 2010 Champions League.
He has a contract at San Siro that expires in 2015 and would be content to see it out if a transfer fails to materialise this summer, hence his reluctance to agitate in public for a move.
New Inter manager Gian Piero Gasperini has told the Inter hierarchy that he does not see the Holland star as indispensable as he prepares to field a new 3-4-3 formation next season.
Despite the negotiations, Sir Alex Ferguson has attempted to cool talk of Sneijder moving to Old Trafford this summer.
The United boss, currently in America as part of the club's pre-season preparations, told ESPN: "I keep reading about this, there's absolutely nothing at all to that.
"First of all I don't think Inter are prepared to sell him anyway.
"You get conjecture and you get speculation every week in newspapers unfortunately.
"And we have to answer these for some reason - why, I don't know, but we have to find a reason without adding insult to any particular club, or embarrassing any particular player. There's nothing we can do about it."