Wayne Rooney is set to be given a five year £300,000 a week contract by Manchester United according to The Telegraph (who have been first to accurately report everything to do with Juan Mata this week so they’re on a hot streak when it comes to breaking United news).
The 28-year-old is reportedly a top target for Real Madrid and there were doubts over whether he would remain a United player past this summer, but it looks like he may be ready to pledge his long term future to the club once again.
Paul Stretford held talks with United this week over a potential new deal as, with 18 months left on his contract, Rooney could buy out his contract this summer and leave on a Bosman in the next one but David Moyes has made it clear how much he values Rooney with his approach to him this season.
You can’t question the return we’ve seen – street footballer Wayne has brought it all back this year and has been our stand-out player but a new £300,000 a week deal will split United fans right down the middle – should he stay or should he go?
This is the last big contract of Rooney’s career as a five year deal will last until he is 32 but given his fitness levels, it is likely Rooney will start to decline when he hits 30. Remember, he has been playing football at the very top since he was 17 and won’t have the longevity of someone like Ryan Giggs because he doesn’t have that sort of discipline and fitness. Of course, that could simply coincide with him dropping deeper on a more permanent basis ala Paul Scholes.
However, if we chose to sell Rooney, we could get big money for him in the summer and the fact we are willing to pay £300,000 a week in wages means the likes of Diego Costa, Edison Cavani and Radamel Falcao would be attainable targets. Would it be a smarter long term move by United to sell Rooney in the summer and use his money to bring in a world class replacement rather than keeping him into his decline?
The problem with footballers is that an overwhelming majority of them are tossers. Fact. Rooney falls into that majority. He has played United like a fiddler on the roof for years and if he landed his £300,000 a week contract, it would be the second time in four years he played the game and won where no other player has at Old Trafford, but are fans’ battles with him skin deep if he proves his worth on the pitch?
It isn’t money that is the issue here because it would be coming out of the Glazers pocket and although it leads to plenty of rightful debate about passion and love for a club, football isn’t about moral victories – it’s about trophies. Sometimes it’s arseholes that can help take you over the line.
Of course, United could well play Rooney at his own contract game and simply give him a new contract with the intention of selling him in the summer as it would allow them to command the highest possible price. Unlikely, but plausible.
Fans will always be split about Rooney because of how badly he has treated the club and have every right to hate him in that respect but if Rooney can maintain this season’s level of performance from here on in, it could prove to be something fans could live with.