Ever since it was ‘revealed’ that Wayne Rooney had submitted his second transfer request in three years, paper columns, Twitter and blogs have been in full swing as to his next location.
When Sir Alex Ferguson was told by Rooney that he might be better off with a fresh start at another club the Scot took this as a request to leave and later made the supposed request public.
Perhaps it was done as a wakeup call by Sir Alex Ferguson, one final parting gift from the Scot or maybe it was a done in sheer vengeance to act as a reminder that United is and always will be bigger than any player.
The pair have had a fractious relationship at times and given Rooney’s form this season, he didn’t appear to be a man holding all the aces.
The 27-year old would probably be the first to admit that he has not reached the dizzy heights of previous seasons with professional jealousy appearing to cloud his judgement and fuel his frustration.
The ‘envy’ has to do with the emergence of Robin van Persie as United’s main man up front.
Rooney has been in this position before of course. When Ronaldo was the talisman for United prior to his departure to Madrid Rooney was often shunted out right to allow the Portuguese star in the middle.
Rooney only thrived at United when he left and he was the shining light. His form since, warranted the right to be the main man.
This season, Rooney has once again found himself as the ‘second’ man and he has struggled as result, the main driver for the poor form due; a lack of clarity over his position.
Wayne Rooney wants to be a striker. Not a deep lying playmaker, not a midfielder and not out wide. He wants to be played up front. As RVP banged in the goals, Rooney looked a player disinterested.
The speculation about the future of Rooney first reared its head when he was omitted from United’s starting eleven for the club’s crucial Champions League last sixteen tie against Real Madrid.
Since then it has grown spiralling out of control when news of the ‘transfer request’ emerged. Rooney was left out of the on the team’s ‘going away’ parties at Swansea and West Bromwich Albion. At the open top parade to celebrate the title, he was booed. It looked like there would be no goodbye.
As things stand, it would appear that both United and Rooney have a couple of options in front of him.
With two years remaining on his current £250,000 a week deal, United would look for a sizable sum should he leave for pastures ‘greener’ in the summer. An offer in excess of £20 million would be required to open talks with Rooney. It’s a fee that only a few can afford.
Let’s take a look at some potential destinations this summer:
Paris Saint Germain
The French side have plenty of money so the asking price would not be an issue. Rooney would be away from the pressure cooker of the English media while at the same time he would be the darling of a French league growing in stature.
With so many French players plying their trade in England a coup the size of Rooney would represent a real statement by both PSG and the French league as a whole.
A move to France would also give Rooney the chance to add to his silverware with PSG the current top side in Ligue 1, not to mention keep him in the Champions League.
The fact that Paris is so close to England would also be a plus point in favour of PSG.
The Gunners are intent on making a splash in the transfer market this summer and what better way than with a move for a Manchester United striker. After years of being pilfered by clubs from Manchester, the chance for ‘revenge’ could be very tempting for Arsene Wenger.
There is no doubt Rooney would be a marquee signing for Arsenal and he’d be guaranteed top billing in his preferred striker position, however the Gunners are far from title challengers at present and the current team is very much a work in progress. Whether or not Rooney would wish to part of a jigsaw remains to be seen but Arsenal would need Rooney more than Rooney needs Arsenal.
If as expected Jose Mourinho takes the Chelsea hot seat, then he will have a considerable sum to spend in the summer making the supposed £20 million asking price for Rooney appear as pocket money.
The Blues are on the lookout for a big name striker and with Falcao set for Monaco, a move for Rooney could make sense.
Chelsea are also being linked with Ronaldo and it would create one of the most potent striker forces in English and European football if Mourinho was to form a front line partnership of Rooney, Ronaldo, and Torres.
Rooney may not be the main man under Mourinho however, and given that the Portuguese tactician can isolate players who do not follow his modus operandi, a relationship that would appear made in heaven could turn sour very quickly.
Real are never afraid to shell out for a Galactico and a move for Rooney would keep their fickle fans happy after a frustrating season especially if Ronaldo leaves for pastures new.
A move to the Spanish capital would take Rooney to possibly the only club better than United in World football and cement his status as a top drawer player.
Given that Ronaldo’s goal per game ratio has increased since his move to Spain you would expect that Rooney would enjoy a similar goal rush in La Liga.
The only drawback for Rooney might be that the Spanish media are just as intrusive as their English counterparts.
The noisy neighbours could be tempted to make a move should Rooney become available. Again like all those linked they have the resources to both match the fee and salary so that would not be a problem.
A lot will depend on who takes the City hot seat and their preferences, but the marketability of Rooney in a blue shirt would be very appealing to the club’s hierarchy.
Rooney would be coming in for a lot of criticism if he were to move to City, but as someone that has experienced it all before moving from Everton to United he would be able to handle the pressure.
Stay at United
Despite the rumours, this remains the most likely option. A new man in charge means a new chance to impress and with it the opportunity to become the main man up front again, except of course that the new man in question is none other than David Moyes.
The pair have a history…
Moyes is the man who started Rooney’s professional career and later sold him to Manchester United. Moyes took the player to the high court in 2008 for a libel action case after suffering “serious embarrassment and distress” from allegations made by Rooney in his book.
They have reconciled it seems, following a phone call from Rooney to Moyes – the blame laid at the door of the publisher for their lack of proofing and editing. Despite their reconciliation they have not worked together since Rooney left for United in 2004 and old wounds could be quickly re-opened in the heat of the moment.
Moyes will need all the experience garnered from his 11 years at Everton to manage Rooney. He has shown before that he can manage the talent that is Wayne Rooney. He has been there before. Back in 2004 when Rooney was an 18-year old Moyes took him off during a game with Bolton.
Rooney had been struggling with his form after his incredible breakthrough with commercial activities taken their toll on the then teenager. The striker was unhappy with the decision and showed it by refusing to shake hands with Scot after coming off 10 minutes into the 2nd half. Moyes managed the situation with aplomb then and if he gets to manage him this time round, he will do the same.
All managerial decisions are being left with Moyes. We have already seen that with Mike Phelan leaving the club. Moyes will be the one to decide if he wants Rooney in or out of his Old Trafford revolution (changing of the guard more like) however, with two years remaining on his contract, the United money men must make a move or risk Rooney letting his deal run down and leaving for nothing.