The number of shall we say rather difficult to believe stories regarding the future of Wayne Rooney increased this morning as Catalan based newspaper ‘Sport’ reported a ‘solution’ had been found between Barcelona and Manchester United and this solution would take both Thiago and David Villa to Old Trafford for a fee of twenty six million Euros with Wayne Rooney moving to Barcelona for a fee of thirty million Euros.
This story to me, first appears to be nonsense due to the fact Manchester United had a number of opportunities to bring David Villa to the club whilst he was at Valencia with the Old Trafford club certainly having interest despite never officially tabling a bid for the forward, now with the player aged thirty one and wanting significantly higher wages than he would have done a number of years ago, why on earth would Manchester United want to take David Villa on especially with the difficulty suffered by Sir Alex Ferguson past season with regards to fitting Wayne Rooney into the starting eleven in a forward role?
It is no secret that Manchester United are certainly interested in bringing Thiago to the club with many media outlets including those with significant credibility in transfer matters reporting that a deal to take the Spanish midfielder to Old Trafford was close to being confirmed. However I don’t think a swap deal would be on the cards for both he and Villa, nor would Manchester United have to sweeten any sort of deal for Thiago with Barcelona due to the twenty two year old’s nineteen million Euro release clause courtesy of not having played enough minutes for Barcelona’s first team last term.
Now moving onto the second half of the story, Wayne Rooney moving to Barcelona for thirty million Euros, everything about this sentence just sounds wrong. Wayne Rooney regardless of his fitness, form and attitude over the past eighteen months is a sizeably valuable commodity for Manchester United to have in their possession and thirty million Euros which roughly equates to £25million in the British market is nowhere near what Wayne Rooney is worth to Manchester United. The figure I believe Manchester United may let Rooney leave the club for would be a lot closer to £40million despite the England international having only two years left on his current contract.
However perhaps more significantly, Barcelona are not in a position to pay thirty million Euros for Wayne Rooney even if they would make twenty six back through the sales of Thiago and David Villa. It has long been a poorly kept secret that Barcelona suffer from financial problems with the past superstar signings of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cesc Fabregas somewhat papering over the cracks, however with Barcelona being disappointing by their own high standards in the UEFA Champions League in the last two seasons the financial problems have really hit home. It was thought this summer that Barcelona would have to hold a fire sale of players who were not crucial to their first team with names like Alexis Sanchez, Victor Valdes, Ibrahim Afellay and even Thiago Alcantara being muted as being available this summer.
Speculation about this sale had increased even further following the completion of the deal to bring Neymar to Camp Nou with the enigmatic Brazilian forward being signed for a fee rumoured to be around fifty seven million Euros. Many thought Barcelona were going to have to sell to merely balance the books never mind free up space within their squad, however as yet there have been no significant sales with the only two departures being Marc Muniesa moving to Stoke City on a free transfer and Bojan Krkic moving to Ajax on a season long loan deal.
Whilst I don’t believe there to be the money to bring Wayne Rooney and his bumper wage packet to Barcelona, I also don’t think there is the space to fit him into the side. If you think back to how one position for a striker is taken by Lionel Messi who plays as a ‘faux number nine’ come centre forward then that takes away a position Rooney could fill. Next is the two wider forwards who over the past two years have been a rotation between Pedro, David Villa and Alexis Sanchez, now with the introduction of Neymar to the left hand side, it is likely Pedro and Alexis Sanchez would rival each other for the spot on the right hand side of the Barcelona forward three. The only space Rooney could then fit into would be in the central midfield area where he would only get a handful of appearances ahead of Xavi and Iniesta and if Barcelona were purchasing a player to seldom come off the bench to fill in at the heart of the midfield then they might as well have put up a greater fight to keep Thiago.
So there you have It, the story in ‘Sport’ this morning I feel is absolute nonsense and there are far too many factors working against it for it to be true however I know you should never take anything for granted in the transfer market but this one is just a bit too farfetched for me, even more so when you hear respected Spanish football correspondents saying how close David Villa is to leaving Barcelona for either Tottenham Hotspur or Fiorentina. The speculation regarding Wayne Rooney and Thiago Alcantara, I’m afraid will continue to rumble on until we hear definitive answers from the players’ respective clubs.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris Winterburn on Twitter @Chriswin4