Rooney could follow Becks’ path out of Old Trafford



The long game heading inextricably towards Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United exit began in October when the 25-year-old striker publicly questioned the club’s ambition and with it Sir Alex Ferguson’s reputation. Stories that the player is doing the same in private is merely window dressing on the many strategic forces that will drive the player out of Old Trafford this summer. That, at least, is one analysis of the highest profile potential departure in a summer of change at United.

Sunday’s News of the World ‘exclusive’ that Sir Alex Ferguson is now considering a summer exit for the player, who signed a lucrative new contract last autumn, should come as little surprise. While fans will inevitably dismiss the red-top story as a fabrication, it is almost certainly contains some truth, albeit a more nuanced story. Indeed, the line that Rooney’s exit lies in the breakdown of the player’s relationship with his manager is probably just a simple interpretation of an underlying truth.

“Rooney has been moaning about the squad again,” says the Rupert Murdoch-owned paper, quoting an unnamed source.

“But Sir Alex has told him he should look at himself first before criticising others. Sir Alex is not pleased with the way Rooney has been playing. Relations between Rooney and Ferguson are so strained that it is affecting other players.”

In that there may well be some truth, although the jocular touchline banter during United’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday hardly supports the assertion. Still, the Scot is unlikely to countenance any player – no matter how good – who threatens the harmony of the squad. Roy Keane, whose criticism of his team-mates in November 2005 occurred in an explosive MUTV interview, barely last a week before he was shown the Old Trafford door.

When it comes to the player’s form, however, Rooney can offer little support for the reported criticism of his own team-mates. After all, the player’s output in the past year is barely a fraction of that between November 2009 and March 2010, when the striker scored at around a goal-a-game. And despite six goals in the past eight games, the former Evertonian’s heavy touch belies a player whose confidence is not what it once was.

Indeed, while Rooney’s fall from grace is not yet terminal, it has been profound. Since suffering an ankle injury against Bayern Munich last March the striker ended the 2009/10 campaign without a goal, was a key ingredient in England’s tormented World Cup campaign, and has endured months of poor form this season. Add the hookers, strained marriage, public drinking and bitter contract negotiations to the story and it is far from a pretty picture.

None of that is new of course and supporters can point to the five-year contract signed by Rooney in October, raising the striker’s salary to more than £180,000 a week. In a financial and legal sense the contract ties player and club together, yet it does nothing to preclude a future transfer. After all, Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new contract with the club barely 12 months before an £80 million move to Real Madrid. On a smaller scale so did Phillip Neville.

There are other reasons to believe Rooney’s medium-term future lies outside the club. Not least that talk of major rebuilding work at Old Trafford this summer will come, inevitably, at a high price. In addition to a new goalkeeper, United’s shopping should include a top quality replacement for Owen Hargreaves, a creative midfielder and potentially a left-winger. Additionally, Michael Owen is out of contract and Federico Macheda’s situation remains unclear and talk of Wes Brown and Park Ji-Sung moving on has some merit.

Indeed, there is repeated paper talk of the club spending more than £100 million this summer. It seems off-the-mark – after all the Glazer family has shown no proclivity towards ignoring the apparent lack of value in the market over the past five years. Unless, of course, there is also a major sale to balance the books.

Quite how much United might get for the player, whose star is no longer in the ascendency, is another matter altogether. The mooted fee last autumn was more than £60 million. At that price there is only three clubs on the planet with the financial clout to buy Rooney – Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid. With Ferguson unlikely to countenance strengthening a domestic rival – and the player on a long-term contract – there could be a buying party of one. It’s not always conducive the securing the best fee.

The fee is a mere incidental of course in a longer path that seems, inevitably, to separate player from club. After the Rooney’s behaviour in recent times, once wonders how many tears would really be shed.

Should United sell Wayne Rooney?

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  • Triggs

    If these rumours are true about undermining Fergie and provided the transfer fee is reinvested – yes.

  • redbob

    I think we should sell him if he keeps going on about our “weak squad”, if those reports are true.
    He doesnt seem like his usual self, but he has had a rough year.

    But if there are no problems, and everything is fine we should keep him. and I hope we will keep him, as he is a VERY good player. World class.

  • http://www.mojatimes.com Oye

    He’s still our talisman. We should hope that his form improves, rather than speculate on how much we can get for him. I was so happy that he scored yesterday.

  • bman

    This is a strange article. First, it’s prompted by a story in the NoTW, which just prints total rubbish and doesn’t care if even 1% proves true. Secondly, Rooney’s playing well again anyway, he’s definitely getting back in the groove. He’s more or less got a goal or an assist every match since the new year. Actually here are the precise numbers since the new year: 12 starts, 7 goals, 5 assists. He’s not in top form yet, but he’s definitely getting back in the saddle.

    • Zombie Cucumber

      Total agreement with bman here.

      And News of the World? Seriously?

  • sidney

    This NOTW article is probably bollocks like most of the shit they write

    But yeah, there is some substance to the Rooney fucking off rumours

    We’ve got to improve in midfield for next season. We don’t need Rooney’s agent to tell us that.

  • Ashish

    I don’t think theres any truth in these stories.

    But I don’t understand how you can say that Rooney’s form at present is poor?

    I mean,he has been scoring regularly in the past couple of games no?

    And he’s provided the 2nd highest number of assists aswell.

    Hardly “bad form”.

  • TD

    If he could get ride of the disruptive influence of his agent and have some self awareness, Rooney will grow as a man and then the rest will happen on the pitch.
    Should we also ignore the NoTW comments about Rodwell too? Is having both of them in the team a NoTW headline waiting to happen?? Or could they be good allies?

  • ja

    100 million war chest? As ever with glazernomics, it will be sell to buy.

  • eddieTheRed

    Despite all the badness in Rooney’s life recently I regard it as little more than growing pains; the player thought he was God’s gift to football and this last year has made him realise he will just have to work hard for it like everyone else.

    If United can win another title and put up even a half decent showing in Europe then I believe he will stay and we shall benefit from a more humble and more productive player.

  • Steve

    I agree with most of what has been said above. I actually don’t want us to sell Rooney. Yes, he has had a poor year by his standards but unless the medical team know something that we don’t then he should be kept.

    I love hearing stories about a 100m war chest. I hope it’s true. But my concern with that is who we are being linked with. Ashley Young? Clark? Henderson? I just don’t think any of them is strong enough for our side. I want us seriously in for the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Daniele de Rossi and David de Gea. Let’s aim high as a club.

    Just want to make one final, completely unrelated point. Was there ever 10 minutes of football that completely encapsulated a career as Scholesys sub display against Arsenal. Wonder passes, passion and a potential sending off. Little Ginger legend!

    • Victor

      I enjoyed that. He was looking to offload the frustration that was building up since the liverpool game.

  • kramer

    fuck yeah, that cameo was absolutely mad, going from the sublime to the retarded in seconds. those touches, first time passes into space, one-twos and 50 yard hollywood balls, it was just magnificient. then came his tackles. i love that man.

  • triggs

    Blog Commenter said:
    I don’t think theres any truth in these stories.

    But I don’t understand how you can say that Rooney’s form at present is poor?

    I mean,he has been scoring regularly in the past couple of games no?

    And he’s provided the 2nd highest number of assists aswell.

    Hardly “bad form”.

    I think the bad form refers to the way he can’t trap a ball and gives it away consistently.

  • Bill

    He’s now getting back to his usual form, not the poor form of the start of the season and not the outstanding form of last season.

  • http://none ian

    Do we want to keep Rooney? It depends on the fee we would get & the viable replacements. But, in my opinion, Rooney will never be a player anywhere near as in the same class, or as influential, as Ronaldo & Messi, Xavi & Iniesta. I think that he has had a dose of the Lee Sharpe syndrome -he has lost a good yard of pace & that ‘street footballer’ appetite for the game. There is no evidence whatsoever that he could become a top quality midfielder, or even a great number 10, model a certain Frenchman, as seemed possible a few years ago. I still think a swap for Diarrra & Benzema would be a good deal & if City offer a ridiculous ammount of money we should take it. The vital thing is to tie up a replacement(s) before selling him.
    At the moment we have some unbelievable dross in the squad. We need top quality, de Gea plus two. Henderson, Rodwell & Young probably are little better than we have, Anderson, Fletcher & Valencia.

  • Victor

    I voted yes, but thinking over it a little, I realized that selling him will only inflate prices for the other players we could go for.

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/forum/profile/admin Ed

      Victor – didn’t you know there’s already no value in the market?!

  • mongoletsi

    Everybody needs to calm down and WAIT… because Herbie hasn’t told us the facts yet, so this could all be media speculation :o)

  • SKW

    I have no idea why our forum seems invested in getting rid of one of the trio of truly worldclass players we possess (the other two being Vidic and Ferdinand).

    Sure, his form has been off, but so what? He is still class, has still won games and — perhaps most importantly — does anyone really think we could buy anyone approaching his value to replace him?

    I will continue to side with Rooney and his gripes, too. He isn’t saying anything Rant Cast doesn’t say every week and we don’t post ourselves. Our squad is mediorce and we all know it. Why should Rooney not care about that? I think his griping is proof he actually cares about the club and wants to win. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air from Gill and Ferguson, who carry water for the Glazers by the pound…

  • http://www.sourceofgravity.com Bill

    Yep if you were to rank our players Rooney would be 3rd. He doesn’t really fit anywhere else, Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool – he just wouldnt go there. There is City, but they have Tevez for the spearhead of their attack.

  • http://none ian

    “Truly world class players?” He was for most of ONE season. Do you really think he has been world class this season? He is on a fantasic wage & at the moment he has a large transfer or exchange value. I think, & I might be wrong, that we have seen the best of Wayne & we could IMPROVE the squad, with good planning, without him.

  • http://none ian

    I have been watching United from the mid-fifties. World class players?
    D. Edwards, Best, Charlton, Law, Robbo, Eric, Keano,Schmeichel? (8)
    Nearly so, Buchan, Ferdinand, Giggs,Vidic?
    Some would include Scholes & Ruud in the nearly men.
    Are you seriously suggesting that Wayne fits into that class of eight?

    • Victor

      Beckham was world class.

    • SKW

      Yes, he does.

      Look at his career. Look at his performance in his first European Cup. Look at how he carried a mediocre team on his back last season. Last weekened, he setup a goal and scored the second. So overall, he’s had one bad season in which he still wins you matches? And you want to sell him out of some misplaced anger at his wages?

      I’m somewhat at a remove here, but this attitude towards Rooney is incredible to me. The guy is one of a handful of forwards in the world that any manager would want, and we have some boo boys who think we’re better without him…

      Finally, we all know if Rooney is sold nobody of equal stature will be bought with the money. Fergie will just stretch part of the money to take more gambles on more Olbertans and Bebes.

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    He’s still young ffs…

    Put a decent midfield behind him, so he doesn’t spend half the game fuckin about in defense, or half the season running up and down the wing.

  • bman

    “Nani is the latest Manchester United player to contemplate his future at Old Trafford, with the Portugal winger considering the possibility of severing his ties with the club in the summer. The 24-year-old is intrigued by the prospect of moving to Italy and has spoken at length with his family and his agent, Jorge Mendes, about whether a move to Serie A would be possible and if it is the right point of his career to try to make it happen.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/mar/15/nani-manchester-united-move-italy

    Translation: “Now that the club’s long suffering patience in me has been finally been rewarded, pay me a lot more money or I’ll fuck off somewhere else”.

    Some days I just really feel tired of modern football. Are we all just mugs for caring?

    • Victor

      I’m tired of watching Mn United ‘invest’ in talent only for them to bugger off at the first sniff of other clubs abroad. I endured utter tripe when watching ronaldo for his 1st 3 seasons before he came good and off he went to Mdrid. That’s why I’ll never forgive him.

      Since when did we become Sunderland or Spurs for other clubs?

      Eeven Nani was awful until away to Arsenal last year. I don’t believe the pedigree of the kind of source you just posted but I’m tired of buying these pre-prima donnas only for them to bugger off.

  • kramer

    didn’t he just sign a new contract? i think this is all bullshit, nani looks quite happy for the moment at least.
    and a move to the fucking serie a? that’d be a step down ffs.

  • bman

    kramer said:
    didn’t he just sign a new contract? i think this is all bullshit, nani looks quite happy for the moment at least.
    and a move to the fucking serie a? that’d be a step down ffs.

    Nah I don’t think it’s bullshit, I think the story is basically planted by Nani’s agent with friendly journos as the first step in angling for a pay raise at United.

    It is fucking irritating that we spend several seasons persevering with lads like Nanin and Ronaldo while they earn huge money by any normal standards, and once they finally start delivering on their potential they think they’re entitled to a massive pay raise.

  • http://www.visual-intrusion.com Robbo

    bman said:
    Nah I don’t think it’s bullshit, I think the story is basically planted by Nani’s agent with friendly journos as the first step in angling for a pay raise at United.

    It is fucking irritating that we spend several seasons persevering with lads like Nanin and Ronaldo while they earn huge money by any normal standards, and once they finally start delivering on their potential they think they’re entitled to a massive pay raise.

    Blame the likes of Mendez or Stretford, I mean come on 7 Million for Bebe

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    Nani is going nowhere. He is not as silly as he looks. He knows that he can not get into any top side in Europe and that as long as Ronnie is around he is not guaranteed anything with Portugal.

    His agent can do whatever he likes but he has a deal. By the way, we need to chill a bit about these players. What do you mean by the “club persevering with them”. To start with MOST footballers always need time to settle into a club. Nani is his first season was sensational – watch the season’s highlights and see his goals and assists. What happened was that the very next season and without CQ our manager went back to Giggs as first choice and Nani started having start/stop campaign and was never able to build momentum. That lad has always had the X factor and we are very fortunate that he did not leave before now considering how poorly he was treated after his first very good season.

  • sidney

    Hopefully Nani just wants a pay rise… to be paid the rate of a top, important first teamer

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    Blog Commenter said:
    I have been watching United from the mid-fifties. World class players?
    D. Edwards, Best, Charlton, Law, Robbo, Eric, Keano,Schmeichel? (8)
    Nearly so, Buchan, Ferdinand, Giggs,Vidic?
    Some would include Scholes & Ruud in the nearly men.
    Are you seriously suggesting that Wayne fits into that class of eight?

    how has this shite gone unnoticed

  • sidney

    Nani posted on Twitter saying: “I’ve seen some false reports on the press. I want you to know that you will hear the truth from me. Love MU”

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/forum/profile/admin Ed

      sidney – is that a genuine Nani account?

  • cabronyc

    Keep him and either buy a serious midfielder behind him or buy a striker and convert him to a CAM.
    Also, I noticed a lot of people seem to have lost the meaning of the word “legend” and expression “world class”. While Ronaldo is often called a legend of OT, I really have to ask myself and especially you English guys who have the opportunity to go to games on a regular basis: if Ronaldo is a legend, then what do we call Charlton, Best, Giggs, Scholes etc?
    As for Rooney being a “World Class Player”- not this season. Calling him that would really be unrealistic with the likes of Sjneider, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi still around!

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/forum/profile/admin Ed

      cabronyc – good post. It is also instructive to note that Rooney earns almost as much as Iniesta and Xavi put together.

    • SKW

      Form is temporary. Class is forever.

      Rooney hasn’t done enough or been here long enough to be marked down a legend, ala Cantona, Giggs and the like, but he is world class, for sure.

      He’s one of the top two dozen or some players in the world, if not better. You won’t buy anyone as good as him if you sell him. That I can gurantee.

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    Blog Commenter said:
    Yes, he does.

    Look at his career. Look at his performance in his first European Cup. Look at how he carried a mediocre team on his back last season. Last weekened, he setup a goal and scored the second. So overall, he’s had one bad season in which he still wins you matches? And you want to sell him out of some misplaced anger at his wages?

    I’m somewhat at a remove here, but this attitude towards Rooney is incredible to me. The guy is one of a handful of forwards in the world that any manager would want, and we have some boo boys who think we’re better without him…

    Finally, we all know if Rooney is sold nobody of equal stature will be bought with the money. Fergie will just stretch part of the money to take more gambles on more Olbertans and Bebes.

    Good post.

  • http://www.visual-intrusion.com Robbo

    Any cunt who wants to sell Rooney look at that goal against Marseilles which he set up and assisted then think again.

  • http://www.visual-intrusion.com Robbo

    Any cunt who ants to sell Rooney look at that goal against Marseilles which he set up and assisted then think again.

  • sidney

    Rooney confirms commitment to United http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/news/Manchester-United-Wayne-Rooney-has-angrily-rubbished-reports-he-is-set-to-leave-the-club-in-the-summer-claiming-he-will-stay-at-Old-Trafford-into-his-30s-article714507.html

    “On Sunday, I didn’t even know the story was in the newspaper until I was on the way home from training.

    “I stopped off at a garage to get petrol and a few people asked me if I was leaving in the summer. I didn’t know where it had come from, so I said: ‘Where did you hear that?’

    “I’ll be here until I’m in my 30s though, that’s for sure.”

    Rooney claims his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson is rock solid and that he is happy again at United after wanting to leave earlier in the season.

    “My relationship with Sir Alex has no problems whatsoever,” he said. “I’m enjoying my football here and if I was going to leave in the summer, I wouldn’t have signed a new contract when I did.

    “I signed it and I intend to see it through to the end.”

    Hope the cunt isn’t bullshitting us this time

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    Blog Commenter said:
    Keep him and either buy a serious midfielder behind him or buy a striker and convert him to a CAM.
    Also, I noticed a lot of people seem to have lost the meaning of the word “legend” and expression “world class”. While Ronaldo is often called a legend of OT, I really have to ask myself and especially you English guys who have the opportunity to go to games on a regular basis: if Ronaldo is a legend, then what do we call Charlton, Best, Giggs, Scholes etc?
    As for Rooney being a “World Class Player”- not this season. Calling him that would really be unrealistic with the likes of Sjneider, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi still around!

    For me and for all intents and purposes Ronaldo is a LEGEND at Manchester United. What criteria are you going to use that the Portuguese will not fall into? The lad joined us a frail teenager, left as a strapping youngman, leaving us with £80m and ALL trophies winnable. No other United player spent an equal amount of time with us and gave us as much. NONE. Infact, only the sainted trio of Bobby, George and Denis match him in terms of things won and personal achievements. With him in the team in his last three years, you just felt that we could not lose a match – he would not have it. Brave as a lion and quicker than a cheetah; he had the killer instincts that players of his ability usually do not have. So, yes he is a legend. Goodness me that mediocre player Lou Macari is described as a legend!!!

    Anyway, with Chicharito in the team, the Rooney that is given license to roam is back with us again. You know, the one that is an absolute battering ram, that used to run riot with Louis Saha and Ronaldo is back with us again. Without that rubbish Berbatov in the team we can do things quicker. What is now left is for the manager to start with Nani and Valencia on either side and watch this team actually explode – with Carrick and Fletcher holding the midfield.

  • madmax

    Cal, you really can’t put Carrick and explode in one sentence unless you are talking about a brothel or Carrick on vacation in the middle east.

  • http://www.newhallmedialtd.com Calvino

    Madmax,
    really when he does not have Scholes to hold his hands Carrick does actually play well. He just seems to lose all confidence when he can shuffle the ball to Scholes. With Fletcher or Anderson he does step up. So, in that formation I mentioned he will do a very good job.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    macari was a very good player

    best law charlton, edwards and the 58 side, giggsy, scholes robson hughes cantona ole keane are the legends

    with the likes of albiston buchan wayne irwin not far off

  • sidney

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    macari was a very good player

    Crap chippy though

  • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk/members/danniitronix/ danniitronix

    Ronaldo is the most complete player this club has ever had.

    Take the best bits of Ruud, Giggs, Scholes, Keane, Ince, Rooney, Best, Charlton and Law and you get Ronaldo.

    He’s not as natural as Giggs, as good passer as Scholes, the shot of Charlton and killer instinct of Ruud but we will all look back in a few years time and think ourself lucky that in that one season, he was the most dominant footballer in world football.

    Don;t think anyone will ever get 48 goals in a one season, treble with a UCL, WPOY and BDOR plus all domestic PFA awards, etc.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    the only thing him and scholes have in common is getting their cock out