Rooney’s decision to say he wants to leave is one of those issues that leaves me with more questions than answers.
The main question is why he wants to leave. Is it because he thinks the United team is in decline? He wants to play abroad? Or does he simply want more money?
If he thinks the team are in decline, he might have a point. Ferdinand’s back problem looks a long term – possibly terminal – problem. Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Van dar Sar etc will all be gone soon, as will probably be the manager.
Rooney may have noted the lack of new top quality players arriving over the last 24 months, with only top players leaving Old Trafford. He may have come to the conclusion that the clubs debt is only going to see a further deline in the standard of the squad.
Another possibility could be a thaw in relations between the two men. Although Ferguson said there has been no row between the two, it is still possible that their relationship has soured over time.
Maybe he wants to go abroad to get away from the British press? Would playing in the heat of Spain at Real Madrid or Barcelona really suit him? I’m not sure it would.
Barcelona are probably going to be tightening their purse strings anyway. While Madrid have forwards coming out of their ears. Maybe Milan, Juventus or Inter could be an option, but I’m not sure Italian football has the kind of money needed to lure him.
Then we have the issue of money. Just maybe someone at Manchester City may have given Rooney’s agent the impression that they are prepared to pay him something in the region of £200,000 – £500,000 a week and that has turned Rooney’s head.
Thats the only theory that adds up. Apparently in March, Rooney said he wanted to stay at United and that they are the best club in the world. What changed so much between then and August, when he said he wouldn’t be signing a new contract?
Personally, that would be my bet. We all know how much Yaya Toure is rumoured to be on, Rooney knows he could better that and maybe even double it.
City are also likely to be the only club who would be prepared to make an offer for him during the January transfer window. I couldn’t see Madrid getting involved in biding for a player at that stage of the season who is cup-tied from the Champions League.
City would also be only too happy to take him off the hands of United for symbolic reasons. Going across the town and taking their main rivals prize asset would finally give them the elite status they have been searching for.
It could lead to further big name signings. It would also signal a changing of the guard and would bring about a chance for them to rub Ferguson’s face in the dirt, an opportunity that they surely could not refuse.
I’m not sure whether Ferguson was playing his last hand today, or just trying to win the PR battle and make it as hard for Rooney as possible.
In a way, he has hung Rooney out to dry be revealing what he did. Although Rooney can have no complaints as his camp has been briefing the press with their own agenda since the weekend.
Ferguson also made reference to Rooney’s personal life when he said that all he asks of Wayne is to respect the club. “I don’t know if he’s done that. I have got doubts on that because we’re reading things about falling out with me and all that nonsense,” Ferguson said on MUTV.
Ferguson’s stance today could either force Rooney to back down, or more than likely it will only cause animosity between the two parties.
It could also cause a fans backlash against Rooney and we all saw what the outcome was when that happened with England last summer. Or maybe the fans will blame the Glazer’s, they might think this a financial decision brought about by the clubs debt.
This is the situation that might bring Ferguson’s reign to an end. He might decide that with United’s spending restraints and City’s spending power, that he is no longer on a level playing field and that it is best to go out before his legacy is damaged.
In a funny way, if Rooney does go to City, it will make a change for United to have a taste of their own medicine, as they have enticed players to Old Trafford with the promise of riches in the past.
For what it’s worth, I think Rooney is mad. If this is a bargining tool for a better deal, then it is a very risky one. I believe that Rooney’s agent has turned his head with the promise of big bucks from City, I also believe he will be making a big mistake if he takes it.