As the summer has progressed, Wayne Rooney seems to have drifted farther and farther away from Manchester United. The forward has made it clear that he would like to leave the club and has only played once since May 5th. A number of injuries have hampered him this offseason, with a shoulder injury likely to keep him out of the Commmunity Shield and Rio Ferdinand Testimonial.
With the beginning of the season quickly approaching, Rooney and manager David Moyes would both welcome a conclusion to this transfer story.
Rooney has served Manchester United well since arriving in 2004, but apparently feels that it is time to move on. New manager Moyes doesn’t want to the forward leave before he even kicks a ball competitively under him. The Premier League begins in nine days, and it would benefit both sides to come to an agreement soon.
There are, however, other clubs looming, with Chelsea already having two bids for the forward rejected. The London side seems to be the most likely destination, but if that falls through, a move abroad could be in the cards.
Rooney was omitted from the last two games of the previous campaign after asking for a transfer. Apparent hamstring and shoulder injuries have kept him out of most the team’s preseason action, but I would be surprised if that was the full story. Convenient injuries always pop up when players request transfers. This is only speculation, but I see this as a move by Rooney to force Manchester United’s hand.
The Red Devils have a number of striking options, but none with the experience that Rooney brings to the table. Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández have a nose for the goal, but don’t have the same grit as Rooney. If he were to leave, United would greatly miss his winning spirit and attitude, something that Chelsea clearly aspires to procure.
It remains unclear whether United will give in to Rooney’s demands even if he submits a transfer request. It is never a good situation when a player explicitly states that he wants to leave, but the club won’t let him go.
I understand, however, why United are hesitant to let the England international go. After missing out on most of their biggest transfer targets, it would not be a good sign for the club if they were to lose one of their premier players. With a new manager taking over, especially doing so for a coach as successful as Sir Alex Ferguson, a period of instability threatens to take over.
United are trying to avoid this, and keeping Rooney is a logical part of this plan. Manchester United’s plans for the summer have not completely panned out they way they had wanted, and losing Rooney would be another psychological defeat. The forward is desired by some big clubs, namely Chelsea, which would be a contentious move.
Maybe it is the desire to play under José Mourinho, or maybe Rooney just wants a change of scenery. Whatever the case may be, United seem to be holding their ground at the moment as they can’t afford to see Rooney go.
The beginning of the season should prove to have a long list of engrossing storylines, and the Rooney saga may very well be close to the top of that list. Manchester United need him if they want any chance of retaining the title, but keeping a player that clearly wants to leave has its own challenges.