Wayne Rooney the face of Manchester United and without a doubt the most important player in the team for many years, it seemed unthinkable that one day Wayne Rooney could leave Man Utd, but with every passing day it is beginning to look more likely that Rooney’s time at Utd is up.
This is not the first time that Wayne Rooney has asked for a transfer request (2010/11 season) from Man Utd and at the time it was plastered over quickly and the hope was it would never rear its head again and all would be forgotten (on both sides). At the time of Rooney’s first transfer request he was indispensable to Utd, he won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year (deservedly so), scored 34 goals in 44 matches and look like he was fulfilling that great potential which he had shown at Everton many years before. It looked as if there was only one way for Rooney and Man Utd to go, and that was up. However the relationship soon (for reasons unbeknown to everyone) became sour and Rooney requested a transfer, only for it to become quickly resolved by the signing of a new bumper contract.
At the time of Rooney’s new contract it would be fair to say that he was the third best player in the world (behind Messi and Ronaldo) and he hence received the third highest salary in the world, it was well deserved. However since the signing of this contract Wayne Rooney’s play and contribution to the team began to decrease drastically. Rooney’s previous three goal scoring (for the season) are 16, 34 and 16 not particularly good for a player who is paid as if he is the third best in the world.
The drop in Rooney’s significance to Utd was further expanded with the signing of Robin Van Persie, who jumped to the front of the queue and displaced Rooney as the forward player which Utd rely upon. The inevitable outcome of the introduction of RVP saw Rooney drop to the bench or back into midfield which naturally he was not happy about. It was also clear that Ferguson was less than pleased with Rooney’s conduct during the season, increasing the tension (created in 2010 from the first transfer request) between the two.
To say that this new transfer request was out of the blue would be a lie, it was clear throughout. Rooney was not pleased with his position at the club and felt that he should be the star and guaranteed first team football in his favoured position.
They sound like reasonable requests from a player that was once considered the third best in the world, but the key word in the sentence is ‘was’. I don’t think if you asked anyone if Wayne Rooney is the third best player in the world they would say yes. To extend it further I don’t think that he is necessarily the third best player at Manchester United, with RVP, Michael Carrick and David De Gea (among others) all having much more pivotal seasons than Rooney last season.
Rooney’s fall from prominence is however all of his own doing. He created the initial tension by asking for a transfer request, but that was buried. His inconsistencies on the pitch (has a tendency to score in bunches, with long dry spells) forced Fergie’s hand into signing RVP. He lives a lifestyle of a man who is a 20st plumber not a footballer (heavy drinker, eats to many fatty foods). Probably the biggest problem though is the fact that Rooney isn’t actually an athletic man, he could get away with this in his late teens and early 20’s but as you get older there is a higher requirement on a player to maintain his fitness (look at Ryan Giggs) and Rooney has ignored this part of the game.
It is funny to think that one of Alex Ferguson’s last acts as Man Utd manager was to stick the boot into Wayne Rooney for putting in a second transfer request. It showed Fergie’s real frustration at the way Rooney had conducted himself in the three years prior and put Rooney in an incredibly awkward position. The fans could (and did) forgive him for making the mistake of putting in the first transfer request (he was naïve badly advised) but to do the same thing twice is unforgivable.
Here is the big question on the dilemma of Wayne Rooney, what should Manchester United do? It is a tough question because when you look at Rooney, on paper, he is a vital part of the Utd team and Utd would be a worst team without him. He is 27 and therefore should be just about to hit his peak, why would Man Utd sell a player at his peak? They aren’t Arsenal the last time I checked.
On the other hand Rooney has shown that he has no respect for the club or the fans through his behaviour. In theory Rooney should be hitting his peak, but it is hard to not think that he is actually past his best. Last season Rooney was a shell of his former self and look very much the squad player he had become. His fitness would be my biggest concern if I was Utd because (as I’m sure most people are aware of) it is easier to maintain fitness than to regain it. When Moyes joined Utd he commented that Rooney had shown up to pre-season training in great shape, that however is clearly not the case due to the fact that Rooney got sent home with a(n apparent) hamstring injury on the first day of the pre-season tours. Now this is not always the case but usually a muscle injury (such as a hamstring) is caused from a lack of fitness, from a lack of preparation or by pushing your body too far. Now which one do you think it is likely to be with Wayne Rooney? I personally doubt it is the latter of the three.
David Moyes was walking into a difficult situation with Wayne Rooney when he started the job; he did the right thing initially by stating that Rooney was not for sale. So far so good until Moyes let slip that Utd needed Rooney in case something happened to RVP, essentially saying Rooney was a squad player, not so good. This has led Rooney to saying that he is ‘angered and confused’ by the comments and giving him a further excuse as to why he wants to leave Manchester.
After these events Chelsea came in with an appetising bid which (apparently) was worth £10 million plus either David Luiz or Juan Mata. Wow, £10 million pounds plus either Juan Mata (Chelsea’s best player the last 2 seasons and also a player who plays in an area of weakness for Utd) or David Luiz (the controversial Brazilian, who although not a great centre back has shown glimpses of brilliance in central midfield, another area of weakness for Utd), how could they turn it down? Well they did and have once again insisted that Rooney is not for sale.
The rejection of the bid from Chelsea is not surprising, because after all you never accept the first bid. You are also never meant to sell to your championship rivals, however it will be interesting to see what Utd’s resolve would be like if Chelsea offered £15 million plus Juan Mata or David Luiz. I imagine it would crumble and all of a sudden Wayne Rooney would be for sale.
So should Manchester United sell Wayne Rooney? For me personally as a fan of Manchester United I think they should do their utmost to get rid of him. Not only do I think this is the sort of distraction that a new manager does not need after replacing such a legend but also if Rooney is not sold he will become a cancer in the dressing room, and having people around the club such as that is not the formula for success.
I was surprised that Chelsea offered so much for Rooney on their first bid (although Mourinho claims that no players were offered) and also that Jose Mourinho made it clear that Rooney was the player he was desperate to sign this season.
In a perfect world Utd would sell Wayne Rooney to Paris Saint Germain, but this isn’t a perfect world and PSG seem less than interested in the services of Rooney (who would probably be a squad player at PSG after the signing of Edinson Cavani).
Chelsea currently look like the overwhelming favourites to sign Rooney and with an offer of £15 million plus Juan Mata I think Utd would be receiving an absolute steal. However hindsight will tell us if selling Rooney to Chelsea is good business or not (just ask Liverpool about Fernando Torres), and although I think that Rooney is past his best only time will tell whether he is or not, that is the risk that Man Utd have to undertake.
So what do you think? Is Rooney still vital to Man Utd’s success? or is it good riddance? Either way let me know. I would also love to hear from Chelsea fans for their take on the Rooney saga.