After weeks of speculation, Wayne Rooney and Manchester United have agreed to an extension through 2019, and the numbers associated with the deal are absurd. Rooney will be given a club record 300,000 pounds per week, which will equate out to 82.5 million pounds through 2019 for the center forward. If these numbers sound to be a bit much, it is because they are just that.
The main reason that Rooney is not worth a club record salary until he turns 34 years old is because he simply isn’t a world class player on a consistent basis any longer. Over the last couple years he has been good, but not great in the Barclays Premier League, with a total of 21 goals and 19 assists in 48 league games since August of 2012. There is no doubting that this output doesn’t match up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who all earn a very similar weekly salary.
In addition to not putting up statistics that don’t match up with the best in the world, Rooney does not have the physical tools necessary to last five more years as a dependable goal scorer. If the last couple years have proven any thing to United fans, it is that Rooney has already passed his physical prime, and the effects of niggling leg injuries have sapped some of the pace that once made him the shining star of English football. This is not to say that he cannot be a starter on a top team in the Barclays Premier League, but being the focal point of a UEFA Champions League contender is now out of the question.
What could be most important to Rooney not being a good investment for Manchester United is that he doesn’t really have a set place in their starting eleven. There is a genuine argument to be made that both Danny Welbeck and Robin van Persie have more to offer up front than Rooney, and United manager David Moyes has shown no inclination to go with three players solely focused on scoring goals.
What this effectively means is that Rooney would have to be able to slot in behind the strikers at the attacking midfielder position, but this spot has been taken over by new signing Juan Mata. The Spaniard is younger, more technically gifted and has much more experience in midfield than Rooney, and placing him anywhere besides in an attacking midfield position would actually hurt United more than it would help.
At the end of the day it appears that Manchester United is spending an absurd amount of money to ensure that Rooney will break the club goalscoring record of Sir Bobby Charlton, which is simply foolish. The 28-year-old is past his prime, doesn’t have an automatic spot in the starting lineup and is earning the type of money that could bring in a new pair of central defenders and an impact midfielder. And by going for history over squad talent, United is effectively consigning themselves to years of mid table purgatory in the Barclays Premier League.