It is common knowledge to most people that Wayne Rooney has been a brilliant servant to Manchester United ever since he signed from Everton in 2004 for a whopping, record-breaking £30 million. Nearly a decade later Rooney has 197 goals for the club and has built up a versatile, workhorse reputation for himself.
Rooney sure has been a remarkable player, managing to retain a first-team place after all these years partnering Ruud van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez to name but a few. This has changed of late as Rooney wasn’t the first name on the team sheet last season with the arrival of former Arsenal man Robin van Persie.
Rooney was notably on the bench in without a doubt United’s biggest game of the season when they faced Real Madrid at Old Trafford in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Weeks later, Rooney was taken off in the Manchester derby when his team were searching for a goal.
Rooney couldn’t have been happy at being on the bench any time this season, I can’t imagine him being prepared to be a sub with his status at the club. This probably did make him hand in a transfer request towards the end of the season, which the club turned down.
Since David Moyes has taken over as manager, he has spoken of Rooney by saying he’s not for sale and looks hungry in training. We thought that was that but after Moyes said “Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we’ll need him”. These comments supposedly had Rooney “angry and confused”, understandably.
van Persie did get the top scorer last season but for a man that will be pushing for a place in England’s starting XI in next summer’s World Cup, it’s not good enough for him to be deemed backup.
Moyes may plan on playing a 4-4-1-1 formation with Shinji Kagawa playing in the hole behind van Persie. Giving United more creative freedom in a season that will be tough for them with teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City assembling new recruits for a title bid against the Red Devils. After Kagawa’s solid performances in the Confederations Cup, it looks likely he could play an important role for Moyes’ team this season. Rooney may not fit in this way unless played in centre-midfield with Michael Carrick but the former Everton manager is currently searching for a player that can partner Carrick with Cesc Fabregas, Yohan Cabaye and Luka Modric some of the names in the mix. Rooney has been deployed in that position before and has done a good job which could be a compliment to his versatility but he may regard himself to be a natural goal-scoring centre-forward who unofficially drops deep throughout the game.
It seems Rooney wants to leave the club and Moyes should let him leave. From a United perspective, they’re losing Wayne Rooney but he won’t be half as committed if unhappy, they can easily rack up £20-£30 million for him and they could replace him with a big bid for Gareth Bale or Robert Lewandowski. If Moyes sells Rooney and buys a player equally as good, it would show he’s not afraid to make big decisions.
But if Rooney’s not going to be a key player in United’s 2013/2014 season, there is no point in him staying at the club. It would be strange but Rooney would be much more appreciated at Arsenal, Chelsea or Real Madrid.
Arsenal are missing a real world-class player since van Persie and Alex Song’s departures last season while Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona the year before. Arguments can be made for players like Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott but Arsene Wenger and fans of Arsenal would really love a player of Rooney’s calibre at the club. Rooney’s star power and presence would help the club mount a challenge for trophies this season as they’re currently enduring an embarrassing eight year drought.
Chelsea on the other hand, may feel safe buying Rooney as their striking options are strong but unreliable at the moment. Jose Mourinho might want to trim Demba Ba from the squad as he may not be a title-winning player, as the new manager would expect. While Fernando Torres has been improving, his goal tally in the Premier League last season wasn’t too impressive, just bagging eight goals all season, one of the main reasons Ba was brought in to the squad in the January transfer window.
While Romelu Lukaku was an important player for most of West Bromwich Albion’s latest season, it’s not guaranteed he’ll be as good in a competition in the Champions League where he’ll be facing far greater opponents, which is a competition Rooney has a lot of experience in. Of course the arrival of German international of André Schurrle for £18m is a great signing but Mourinho has since stated his only remaining transfer target of the summer is the Manchester United man and it seems he will not give up on bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
Real Madrid may make a bid for Rooney when/if Gonzalo Higuain leaves the club as Arsenal and Napoli seem to be extremely interested. The prospect of linking up with old friend and teammate Cristiano Ronaldo may lure him to the Bernabeu.
PSG were favourites to sign Rooney a few months ago but it now seems an unlikely move since they broke the bank to sign Napoli’s Edison Cavani for a whopping £63m.
Of course he could stay put at United but this could be against his will and there’s no point playing without enthusiasm. If Rooney were to be unhappy at the club, he could cause controversy and could really mess it up for himself by creating a Peter Odemwingie-like situation. He could be a key player at one club or a liability at another, which is why he should move.
Rooney has been changing as a player a lot recently and although there are still goals in him, it may be time for a new chapter in his career. It would be good for him to be seen as a goal scoring striker for another club. He may have to force a move but if sold, he’ll be back in the limelight and every football fan will cast an eye to see how he will perform away from Manchester United, wherever it may be.