Wow, what a week for Manchester United. First we see the exciting promise of our Japanese midfield star finally shine through against Norwich, we are then unceremoniously dumped from the Champion’s League, whilst a former United midfield legend decides to put the boot in to his former team and manager by declaring that black is white and that Nani was justifiably sent from the field during the defeat to Real Madrid. After such a week, you would have thought Sir Alex and his team would be deserving of a break from the back pages. But, yesterday’s papers seemed insistent upon collaborating in the singular statement that, come the summer, Manchester United fans can wave goodbye to their long time hero, Wayne Rooney.
In what seems to be an utterly ironic situation and one in which you have to take a rather large pinch of salt and question whether we are seeing the truth coming out or more lazy journalism based upon the England striker’s omission from Tuesday night’s starting line-up, Wayne Rooney’s departure at this stage couldn’t be timed with less beneficial results for all parties concerned.
While Wayne was insistent upon leaving Old Trafford just a couple of years ago and Sir Alex, the much maligned Glazers and just about every fan with a spray paint can did all they could to convince the former Evertonian to stay, it now seems that (should the United manager finally be losing patience with the inconsistently fit striker) he will not only be in a position of forcing Rooney out the door, but do so at a substantially reduced rate to what would have been received when Rooney made his transfer request uncomfortably public in October 2010.
A somewhat questionable ‘injury’ earlier in the year had already cast doubts over Rooney’s position in the United squad for the 2012-13 Premier League season, as he eventually returned looking somewhat trimmer and raring to go. However, personal issues, reports of drinking and smoking, and the most praised emergence of Robin Van Persie as the number one striker in Manchester (sorry Carlos) seems to have yet again placed Rooney in the shadows of the Theatre of Dreams.
Of course, one can never question Sir Alex Ferguson’s resolve when it comes to doing the unthinkable and saying goodbye to star players. Too many have passed through the United dressing room for the departure of Wayne Rooney to even be cast in doubt, regardless of the success he has brought to the team over the years. Beckham, Stam, Keane and many more can pass testament to the fact that, when Sir Alex considers your time to be up, your time is up.
Want more fuel to add to the fire? What about the continued speculation of the return of Ronaldo (the thin, young one) or the possibility that Manchester United have already secured their first summer signing in the form of Robert Lewandowski? Both transfers would require an element of additional funding (one substantially more so than the other), whilst both players would arguably be in the position to render Wayne Rooney obsolete in his necessity to the Red Devils’ cause.
The final hurdle regarding Wayne Rooney’s possible exit would come in the form of his suitors. Where exactly would Wayne Rooney go and who would be willing to buy him? Many would love to have the England man in their starting eleven, but it is difficult to look beyond a string of half-a-dozen clubs capable of matching his ambitions, transfer fee and hefty wages and it is hard to envisage Wayne taking to the climate and culture of the Mediterranean with the branded ease of the Beckham clan.
With that said, we shouldn’t overlook the very real probability that, while a view point shared by every broadsheet and tabloid newspaper available, Wayne Rooney’s imminent departure may be little more than lazy journalism on a day in which further praise of Gareth Bale just didn’t seem to cut it and it felt more appropriate to put the boot in on a side who have been less than forthcoming with assisting the press, following their exit from Europe’s elite football competition just a few short days ago.
As of Friday morning, the Manchester United manager has declared that Rooney will indeed line-up in the famous red shirt again next season. However, if I recall correctly, he once said the same of David Beckham, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo, and we all know how those transfer sagas ended up.
I for one would be surprised to see Wayne Rooney leave. His flexibility is all too important and, whatever you may think of the consistency of his on-field contributions, he has never backed down from the possibility to play in any position on the pitch. Though, it has to be accepted that United could easily go on without his presence and perhaps even thrive with an alteration some are starting to consider to be very much on the horizon. But, that’s enough sitting on the fence from me. What is your opinion? Is Wazza set to stay or was his Champion’s League omittance just a sign of things to come? As always, I look forward to your thoughts…