Wayne Rooney’s future at Manchester United is seemingly the marquee transfer story that every post-season needs to ignite the excitement building up to a new season in the English Premier League. At the back end of the final season, under the final days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s management, the legendary Scottish manager announced that Wayne Rooney had put in an official transfer request.
Towards the conclusion of the 2012-13 season, Rooney had to settle for places on the bench in high-profile matches such as the controversial Champions League encounter against Real Madrid in March.
David Moyes has since taken over the colossal boots worn by Ferguson at the Old Trafford helm, but the transformation in manager hasn’t transformed the back pages of the British newspapers which are still focusing their lenses towards a possible switch featuring Wayne Rooney. Vultures waiting to pick up the scraps of Rooney’s reputation at Old Trafford include the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, the latter of which have very recently had a part-exchange bid instantly rejected.
In his first press conference, Moyes was very adamant that Rooney would stay at the club which was replied with comments typical of new Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho—the mind games had officially begun.
And last night, when Mourinho offered ten million plus the services of either David Luiz or Juan Mata, they were immediately turned away by Moyes who looks to follow in Ferguson’s stubborn footsteps. The Scot is correct in his ways as he looks to re-affirm his status as Manchester United manager, continuing Ferguson’s practices who remains at the club as a director.
Manchester United supporters and, perhaps even more so, Arsenal supporters know all too well how much a high-profile switch between top forwards to rival clubs can sway the destiny of the title.
Robin van Persie, once loved at the Emirates Stadium, switched to Old Trafford last August and would retain his Premier League Golden Boot award and consequently, United wrapped up the title in April that they had surrendered eleven months previously to cross-city rivals under the tenure of Roberto Mancini.
The Dutchman’s goals were integral to United’s twentieth league title, and a thirteenth under Ferguson which was enough to see the Scot retiring at the club, who literally handed the reins over to David Moyes prior to his final match away at West Bromwich Albion in May.
Wayne Rooney has had previous spats regarding his future, especially in October 2010 when he forced a contract extension upon Ferguson. I’ve seen plenty of blogs, opinions and comments from various people stating that Rooney cannot rebound from this particular episode at Old Trafford.
He has picked up two Premier League titles since he sensationally asked to leave in October 2010 and has netted plenty of times for both club and country and didn’t seem unsettled until the latter stages of last season. However, despite how ‘angry and confused’ Rooney is concerning his status at the club, that can only be reflected and doubled in the supporters’ perspective as they remain divided on whether or not Rooney should stay.
The evolution of the game has seemingly rubbished the 4-4-2 formation, especially in the upper echelons in European and World football. With the 4-2-3-1 counterpart that Manchester United play their football, there is only one man who will be the lone striker in the Old Trafford line-up—Robin van Persie.
In a recent press conference, Moyes stated that Rooney would be needed if Van Persie was to be injured for a long period, in other words stating that he wasn’t the standout performer up front for United. We’ve seen Rooney pushed back into an attacking midfield role and even on the wing in the latter days of Cristiano Ronaldo, particularly in the 2009 UEFA Champions League final where United were defeated rather tamely by an almost perfect Barcelona display in Rome.
Moyes cannot put all his eggs in the Robin van Persie basket, whilst he has named the Dutchman as his first-choice forward, Rooney should not be taken for granted and definitely shouldn’t be dished out to rival English clubs.
If Rooney is to leave, he should be taken further afield because if he does exchange Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge, Emirates or, god forbid, the Etihad Stadium, then the advantage will be at the other clubs for the upcoming season—David Moyes cannot, and looks like he is very stern in not letting that happen. Looking back on certain performances in the second half of the season, many would be forgiven for stating that Rooney hasn’t fulfilled his potential. Even in March, a sensational strike against Norwich still teased that quality from the England forward.
Is everyone forgetting that boy who shone in the European Championships in 2004? The man who scored that incomparable overhead kick against Manchester City a couple of seasons ago? Unfortunately, they are—people will remember the transfer requests, the poor performance at the 2010 World Cup and the poor temperament which ruled him out of the opening European Championships games last summer.
Because when all is said and done, even the best players will be remembered for their greatest failures and embarrassing moments, rather than their most spectacular.
Published in permission with Jake Doyle