Wayne Rooney‘s future at Manchester United is far from secure. Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson proclaimed that he handed in a second transfer request in three years at the end of last season, rumours have been rife linking him with a move away.
Will he stay? Will he go? Nobody knows. Rooney leaving the tour before playing a minute of football with a hamstring injury didn’t help the situation but United have since stood firm that he is not for sale by rejecting Chelsea’s advances.
According to the Daily Mail, Rooney will judge his future on whether he receives abuse from fans in Stockholm or at Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial. I doubt whether Rooney will let a few boos decide where his future lies but even if it is a minority, there will be boos.
Fans are understandably frustrated that the man who held the club to ransom in 2010, who questioned our ambition, is now the same man who moans at not being the star player after we signed the league’s top striker who spearheaded us winning the Premier League back. His frustrations are steeped in hypocrisy.
Like most of us, sometimes we get sick and tired of our day job and yearn for new surroundings. It’s no different with Rooney but the problem with him is that he threw his relationship with Ferguson and the club in the gutter in 2010. While many fans will forgive, most won’t forget.
Let’s be honest. Rooney is no Giggs or Scholes. He isn’t a United fan. He was born and bred in Merseyside before coming to United in a big money move. His love for the club is surface deep no matter how much it is painted otherwise and he may seek new horizons to try and turn a new page. On an emotional level, he won’t feel that he owes the club anything and would have no qualms moving to a domestic rival.
But therein lies the real problem. Rooney hasn’t lost his talent, he has only lost his hunger. If he goes elsewhere, I am confident the real Rooney would return; the devastatingly fierce, ferocious and effective all-round player that United fans grew to love. Under Mourinho, I’d go as far as to say that Rooney would be the Premier League’s top scorer.
So, what do United do? If it is a new challenge Rooney wants, he does not have to leave United. Next year will be the most challenging season our club has seen for decades and he could play an integral role if he wants to. If it is new pastures he seeks, then United should wash their hands of him earlier in the window rather than later.
The worst case scenario is Rooney leaving United for Chelsea on the last day of the transfer window but I’d like to think that Woodward and his cronies are smarter than that. If he leaves, United need to act fast and replace him with a marquee signing ala Fabregas or Ronaldo. If he stays, then his greatest challenge is to return to the Rooney of old and become a Moyes Boy.
Image: Getty Images