Where now for Rooney?

Only one story in town today and it makes my prediction yesterday that, ‘ odds of 2/1 on Rooney leaving Manchester United in the January transfer window didn’t represent decent value,’ look a touch stupid now.

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.

I believe this to be more of a veiled swipe at Rooney’s private life. Either way, he has now forced Rooney’s hand.

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.

Football Betting Round-Up

It looks to be turning into one of those ‘Who wants to lose it more?’ title races again this season. Manchester United can’t hold onto a lead and Chelsea seem to be finding it a lot harder against the bigger and better teams after their easy start to the season.

United again chucked away 2 points on Saturday, how many times is that this season now? As for Chelsea, they have had three real tests this season so far for me, they lost to Man City, beat Arsenal and drew with Aston Villa.

I think Chelsea’s squad looks weak this year, just look at their bench on Saturday (Turnbull, Bruma, Borini, Mellis, Bosingwa, McEachran and Zhirkov). They are also just another Michael Essien injury away from having the heart ripped out of their midfield.

For me, I have been laying them on Betfair, as their current price of 1.65 looks way too short this early in the season. It’s just a shame (from my bets point of view, only) that Manchester United haven’t been able to capitalize on their recent blips.

United on the other hand look to have a stronger squad, if not first XI. With Hernandez starting to find his feet and the form of Berbatov, I think that they should be a threat when they finally get going. They are currently 6.6 on Betfair.

If Ferguson can also get the Rooney situation sorted and Ferdinand back to match fitness (and staying fit), then I still think they will finish above Chelsea.

At least Arsenal (9.6) and Manchester City (8.0) are helping my cause by closing their respective gaps on Chelsea. One major doubt I have over Man City is the possibility of unrest in their squad as the season progresses, with big baby personalities throwing their toys in frustration at not getting picked regularly enough.

In other bets Roy Hodgson is now 2/1 favourite with Ladbrokes to be the next Premier League manager to leave, or be releaved of his post. His Liverpool team are in the strange position of being a shorter price to be relegated (16/1), than to win the league (150/1).

I do hope Hodgson makes a success of things at Anfield just to put an end to this Premier League myth that you always need to go abroad and appoint a foreign manager if you want success.

Going back to the above mentioned Rooney and he can now be backed at 2/1 with Totesport to leave United in the January transfer window. Personally I can’t see this one happening.

I know people will point to the fact that Fergie got shot of Ince, Stam, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy and Keane when they all crossed him, but I believe this case to be slightly different. With the exception of Jaap Stam (who Fergie admitted he was wrong to sell), all the others had seen better days and were past their best when they got dumped.

I don’t think that Rooney is anywhere near that stage of his career. So unless Rooney wants to go and refuses a new contract, I can’t see Ferguson getting rid of him. He also isn’t really in a position to replace him at the moment such is the finances of the club. So for those reasons, I believe Rooney stays.

Carnage at Old Trafford

There was a massive shock for punters at Old Trafford today with West Brom coming back from 2-0 down to get a surprise 2-2 draw. As you can see from the above screenshot nearly a quarter of a million pounds was traded on a United win at 1.02 (1/50) alone.

Favourite backers and all those who go around Betfair hoovering up the ‘so called free money’ will have got their fingers burnt on this one. Punters can’t say they haven’t been warned with Man United this season.

The same thing nearly happened last Tuesday, when after surrendering a 2 goal lead, Spain managed to get their backers out of jail with a late winner against Scotland.

For the record I’m not one of those who backed United. I did win a few pounds on over 3.5 goals though and then wisely thought ‘there’s no way this will finish 2-2’, so laid 2-2 and lost it all. But never mind!