Manchester United manager David Moyes has been adamant throughout this transfer-period that Wayne Rooney is not for sale, yet after the seemingly-unsettled striker was banished to train with the reserves midweek; all signs are beginning to suggest that the striker’s exit could be on the cards.
Rooney was allegedly ‘furious’ when he was ordered to train with the reserves at Carrington this week, and his anger may be compounded by the reports that he has been left out of the squad for this Sunday’s Community Shield match against Wigan; which is less than the best sign that all is well inside the United camp.
Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave Manchester United has been almost as well hidden as Luis Suarez’ s bid to escape Anfield. Arsenal, Real Madrid and PSG have all been linked with the England international striker, but it has been the Mourinho-led bids from Chelsea that seem the strongest.
Jose Mourinho announced this week that Chelsea would fight until transfer-deadline day to land its prize in Rooney, although Moyes re-iterated his stance that his number ten was not for sale.
While it doesn’t appear that Rooney has yet handed in an official transfer request, he seems less than happy to be preparing for the next season in a red shirt.
Rumours of Rooney’s unrest at Old Trafford has never been far from the back pages of the football press since the 2010 World Cup, so is it time for Moyes and United to take the cash from Chelsea and part ways with the want-away forward?
Robin van Persie firmly established himself as United’s key forward last season, scoring 30 goals in his debut season, and in the process edging Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez aside as the first choice to lead United’s attack.
Moyes, unless he suffers some bizarre brain-fade, is likely to stick with the Dutch striker for the next season, and may continue to play with one forward – as he often tried with Nikica Jelavic at Everton.
Under Ferguson, Rooney seemed happy enough to play second fiddle to the like of Cristiano Ronaldo and later Dimitar Berbatov, but stepping aside for van Persie may be one slight on his ego too many.
Rooney caused a major stir during the 2010/11 season, when it emerged that he had been flirting with rivals Manchester City, and was rumoured to have requested a transfer. After he decided to stay, Rooney described the whole saga as “the biggest mistake in my life” and that it will “never happen again.”
Unhappy players can easily breed discontent through the dressing-room and bring un-wanted media attention to the club; just as Carlos Tevez managed so spectacularly at Manchester City. For the man with the biggest shoes in English football to fill, stamping his authority on the club is how Moyes needs to act.
Sir Alex Ferguson was renowned for his ability to cast aside players, regardless of talent, for the good of the team and club. The time may be right for Moyes to emulate his predecessor and move on from Rooney.
The manager and striker have a history of bad blood from their time at Goodison Park, and although Rooney claims to have buried the hatchet, his behaviour this summer suggests quite the contrary.
Rooney is indeed a world-class striker, who sits fourth on United’s all-time leading goal scoring tally; with 197 goals in 403 appearances. According to ex-captain and team-mate Gary Neville, the England international cannot be sold – at least without an equal replacement. “You have absolute gold in Rooney, someone who is proven over six, seven, eight years; who delivers season in, season out” Neville said.
But do United need a direct replacement, when it already has two very talented players happily waiting in the squad in Welbeck and Hernandez?
Welbeck and Hernandez have shown in recent seasons that they are more than able to compete in the Premier League and in Europe, as well as happily supporting the main man in van Persie.
Chelsea’s most recent bid for Rooney was reportedly around £27 million, money that could be happily taken and pumped into an increased bid for Moyes’ known-target in Fabregas, a player that could fill the creative midfield void left by Paul Scholes.
That being said, van Persie’s time at Arsenal was riddled by injury, and if the Dutchman picked up a knock it could spell disaster for Moyes. “My thought on Wayne is that if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie we are going to need him” the manager stated in July.
The United manager has just over three weeks to decide on what to do with Rooney, although a quick resolution is surely the best option for the club.
If Rooney is adamant that he wants to leave, then take the money and find a replacement. Rooney is 27 years old, and in a financial sense is only going to decrease in value. Title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea have already bolstered their squads this summer and look good enough to challenge last season’s champions, thus United need a quick resolution.
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