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Inter star Sneijder dropped in pay dispute

updated 5:01 PM EST, Sat November 24, 2012
Inter Milan will not allow Wesley Sneijder to play again until he agrees to a
Inter Milan will not allow Wesley Sneijder to play again until he agrees to a "contract adjustment."
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dutch midfielder Wes Sneijder in contract dispute with Inter Milan
  • Cash-strapped Italian club asking the 28-year-old to take a pay cut
  • He has not played since September 26 and will not be considered for selection
  • Sneijder has been one of Inter's key players since moving to the San Siro in 2009

(CNN) -- Wesley Sneijder's future at Inter Milan is in doubt after the Italian club confirmed on Saturday that the Dutch playmaker will not be considered for selection until he agrees to take a pay cut.

The 28-year-old is one of football's highest-paid players, but he has struggled to regain the heights of 2010 when he helped the Netherlands reach the World Cup final after a treble-winning season with Inter.

He has not played for the cash-strapped Serie A side since September 26, at least partially due to injuries, but now Inter technical director Marco Branca says he will stay on the sidelines until he accepts a "contract adjustment."

"The situation with Wes, who is part of the history of this club and a player we all care about, is that we've been discussing a possible -- and for us necessary -- adjustment to his contract for a while," Branca said in quotes reported by Inter's website.

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"We want to give the player and his entourage all the time they need to consider the terms of our proposal carefully, so the coach and the club have decided not to use the player in this period until things are clearer. This also allows our coach to give more playing time to the other players."

In the same interview, Branca revealed that Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni will not have any funds to bolster his second-placed team's title charge during the January transfer window.

"As things stand, the current economic situation -- both generally speaking and in our specific case -- doesn't allow us to budget for any sort of outlay," Branca said.

When asked if Inter could afford to sign highly-rated Brazil midfielder Paulinho, Branca replied: "If there's a 'costs' we can't do it at the moment."

The announcement is likely to spark a January bidding war for former Real Madrid star Sneijder, who has been linked with a move to the English Premier League for the past two years.

Inter's financial problems mirror those of city rivals AC Milan, who have sold several top names since winning the Italian title in 2011.

Branca said Inter would not be rushing Sneijder, who moved to the San Siro in 2009 and has more than two and a half years left on his contract.

"It's a very serious matter. We're patient precisely because we have a certain sort of relationship with Wes, and I'm sure it's the same for him. We're patient and calm as we wait for the situation to evolve."

Stramaccioni's team travel to Parma on Monday, facing the possibility that champions Juventus' four-point lead will be even greater following Sunday's trip to struggling Milan.

In Saturday's only Serie A game, seventh-placed Catania lost 3-1 at Palermo.

Slovenia midfielder Josep Ilicic scored twice in the second half to lift the Sicilian team up to 14th place.

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