Back in 2010 Wayne Rooney was facing the final two years of his contract, he was the face of the EA Sport FIFA games, NikeUK and Manchester United and announced he wanted to leave the club, at the time Sir Alex Ferguson said “I was dumbfounded, I couldn’t understand it at all because only months before he’d said he was at the biggest club in the world and he wanted to stay for life…I was shocked.”
At the same time Manchester City were enjoying their first full season under Roberto Mancini and looking to slow United down with a statement signing. It was widely reported that Rooney was considering switching from the red to the blue half of Manchester and his salary would explode in the process. However within two days of his infamous statement questioning United’s ambition, Rooney signed a new 5 year contract and became their highest paid player in history and the team went on to win the league and finish runners-up in the Champions League.
It is now 2013 and Wayne Rooney is no longer the face of EA Sport’s FIFA games, nor of Manchester United. He is still the most marketable British player (now Becks has retired) and the biggest name in the Premier League, but since Robin van Persie’s arrival at United, Rooney is no longer their biggest player or highest earner. He now has two years remaining on his contract and has, again, requested to leave the club.
If it seems like a coincidence that he has requested to leave after entering the final two years of his contract do not be fooled. Rooney (and his agent) had hoped to cash in on the threat of leaving United like they did back in 2010, the only problem now is United have a new manager, new chief executive and he has limited options.
The clubs that have been mentioned are the usual suspects for such a high profile player: City, PSG, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Manchester City: As mentioned, Rooney was seriously flirting with City in 2010 but only to force United’s hand in giving him a pay rise. This time round City do not need a big, statement signing like him as they already did that with Aguero and with the impending Financial Fair Play rules, it is unlikely they will be serious contenders.
PSG: The Qatari-backed club are not shy of spending big: Javier Pastore was snatched from Palermo for £35m and Ibrahimovic & Thiago Silva joined from AC Milan for a combined £51m. They are considered to be the front runners should United chose to cash-in on Rooney but with Ancelotti about to leave for Madrid and Ibrahimovic as their main player, it is hard to envisage the signing happening as Rooney seems to be unhappy playing second fiddle to van Persie.
Chelsea: Roman Abramovich’s club have been linked with Rooney pretty much his whole career, when he left Everton they had a bid turned down, back in 2010 Carlo Ancelotti (then Chelsea manager) stated he would be interested in Rooney if he genuinely wanted to leave and United wanted to sell. With Jose Mourinho expected as the new manager it is unlikely Wayne will pop-up in West London permanently, Jose is at his best when all of his players give 100% to his cause and two transfer requests in 3 years suggest a mercenary, not a disciple.
Real Madrid: The club that invented the idea of spending enormous amounts on big players with the Galácticos era. With Ronaldo in the team it could be appealing for them to link-up again after proving so successful at United, however Madrid have been extremely quiet on the matter and looking at potential new manager Ancelotti’s buying habits it would suggest the club will target Cavani or Jovetic (both Serie A), not Rooney.
Barcelona: Frequently linked with a move during the days of Pep Guardiola however the club has also been very quiet about a move for Rooney. Arsenal fans know all too well that when Barcelona want one of your players the whole team will talk endlessly about signing them until it happens, so far nothing concrete on Rooney.
Others: Bayern Munich were linked but immediately senior figures discredited the report and a move for Lewandowski is more likely. Arsenal have been linked for reasons unknown, Wenger’s biggest signing was £15m and the club’s highest paid player is on less than half of what Rooney commands as United, extremely unlikely that Wenger would spend such a huge amount on one player.
After looking at the options it appears that Rooney’s most likely destination will be to stay put, his new manager David Moyes will not have wanted to inherit this matter and will be eager to show United fans that he can manage big name players and resolve difficult situations quickly. Moyes will convince Wayne to sign a new contract although it will not be on such generous terms as Ferguson granted in 2010, perhaps a more performance-related structure would suit a player who is prone to going through phases of outstanding ability to mediocre displays.
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