The summer transfer window is only a handful of weeks old, but already it seems that the Wayne Rooney transfer saga at Manchester United has been going on for a ridiculously long time.
It all started towards the end of the 2012-13 Premier League season when then-manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated that Rooney wasn’t included in the Red Devils’ side because he had asked for a transfer request.
Rooney had almost seen walked out of Old Trafford earlier in his career, and once it was announced that David Moyes would be the new coach (who Rooney reportedly doesn’t get along with), the news of his possible departure did not come as much of a surprise.
The only question, it seemed, would be whether Manchester United would sell their star striker-turned midfielder, and if they would, for what price?
Rooney had played a key role at times for United in their Premier League title victory and would no doubt be a huge blow to the team would he leave.
However, at the same time, he would also attract a handsome transfer fee were United to listen to offers, with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal reportedly sniffing around.
Yet nobody really knew what to make of the situation.
According to latest reports from the Daily Mirror, it seems there’s a whole lot more to this story than we thought, with the newspaper reporting that Rooney, in fact, didn’t ask for a transfer request and doesn’t necessarily want to leave the club over the summer transfer window.
Steve Bates writes: ‘Rooney’s Old Trafford future hinges on a meeting with the club’s chiefs this week where the angry 27-year-old will insist that United make it clear to supporters that he did NOT hand in a transfer request at the end of last season…United accept that the England star did not hand in a transfer request – and that could clear the way for a kiss-and-make-up that will keep in Manchester…’
Just in case the saga wasn’t confusing enough as it is.
So how will the entire Rooney saga unfold? Will United sell off the England international to a top Premier League or other European club or will he remain at Old Trafford? Does he even want to remain at Old Trafford or can he not stand the club (or David Moyes) so much that he needs to leave?
The entire situation is very confusing right now and will be for several more weeks to come.
Thus to make sense of it is a difficult process, but there’s some very important things to remember in all of this that – hopefully – will shed some light on the saga.
Firstly, it’s important to note just how astronomical Rooney’s current wages at the club are. Current reports have them well in advance of £200,000 per week, which is incredibly high for most clubs.
You’d have to think that outside of Real Madrid, Manchester City, AS Monaco, Chelsea, PSG and perhaps a Russian club or two, not too many other clubs in world football could afford to keep a player on such high wages – which will limit his options should he want to leave.
Also keep in mind just how central Rooney was to Manchester United last season. Robin van Persie netted all the goals and stole most of the headlines in the process, but it was Rooney’s work in behind that so often changed the game and kept United in contests they would otherwise have lost.
Rooney was an absolute stalwart in the middle of the park and while he might not like playing in central midfield, there was little doubting his importance in that role in 2013.
Yes, United have Shinji Kagawa waiting in the wings, but there are few players in world football who possess the same creative, defensive and finishing skills that Rooney does.
So it’s hard to see United wanting to sell off Rooney this summer. If possible, they would no doubt want to keep him at the club given his on-field production.
Off the field there have been some issues that have perhaps maligned him with the fans a little bit, but it’s hard to see those outweighing his importance on the pitch.
Moyes knows how to get the best out of Rooney having dealt with him as a raw starlet, and will no doubt look to mend the relationship between Rooney and the rest of Manchester United. He, having seen Rooney playing both for and against him, knows perhaps more than anyone just how much of an on-field impact he has.
For now, I can’t see the Red Devils selling Rooney – not to PSG, not to Chelsea, not to anyone. I’m not thoroughly convinced that wants to leave the club just yet, perhaps simply putting a few feelers out there, and even if he did, I’m certainly not convinced that the Red Devils would want to part with him.
Maybe I’m wrong, but for now, the only sense I can make of this one is to call fiction on this, and wait and see whether the remainder transfer window proves it to be just that.
Time will tell.