No matter how eye-watering the figures, there was a certain sense of inevitability that Wayne Rooney would be awarded a bumper extended contract.
While firemen, nurses and policemen will be looking on in painful shock and awe they should not be surprised at all, this has been coming since October 2010.
Make no mistake, while Rooney will be counting his blessings (and the zeros) he should really be congratulating his agent. To secure such a deal for a player going into their 30’s is Bollinger-poppingly great work. Since the cleverly co-ordinated transfer request/U-turn/contract re-negotiation shenanigans, his management team have had United over a barrel. If the reports are correct the new deal is worth £300,000 per week yet this is damage limitation from the club.
Try to look at this from the club’s perspective and you should soon realise that there really was not another option. Losing him would be a PR disaster when the club needs to be seen to be keeping its best players to retain stability and a strong position for the future. As well as that, Rooney needed a new deal to prevent the club losing him on a free transfer. Thanks, Marc Bosman.
Consider the maths as well if Rooney was allowed to be sold. Forget for a moment that the only club deemed to be interested would be Chelsea. You need to think about the going rate for Rooney in today’s market. At 28, any club is only really going to get six or seven years maximum out of him and that’s being generous considering Rooney’s susceptibility to kebabs and the odd bender. Let’s say, £30m would be considered as tempting.
The cost to replace a player of his stature would be a lot more. To assess Rooney’s value, you have to think of his potential and what he can do on a football pitch. Whether he demanded to be captain or not, he is a leader on the pitch and one of few players who can drag and bend a game to his will. He can also provide moments of inspiration – an inch-perfect ball over the top (Van Persie v Villa 2013) or a bicycle kick (v Manchester City 2011).
These are moments that make being a football fan worthwhile and despite his recent drop in form, he remains one of the club’s best players hence keeping him was considered essential.
Players like that are in short supply so you are looking at an initial outlay of £50m, maybe £60m. Then you have to consider if this player can prove himself in the Premier League. Then there are other figures to look at, a decline in shirt sales etc. Looking at the situation like that you can see why the club took the option of a bumper deal.
Keeping him also attracts players to the club. Not only for the fact that the wage ceiling has now been creaked open a little wider and transfer targets can demand a bit more it shows that the club mean business. The deal shows that the club are prepared to spend if it means that great players remain, put short it shows that United are a buying club confident of the future ahead.
Should Rooney become the club’s leading scorer in the next few years are fans really going to say, ‘yeh, but he was on £300,000 a week’ – doubtful.
Rooney could be a legend at this football club and one of the leaders in the club’s ongoing rebuilding process. Sure, the club should expect a high level of performance yet Rooney will be seen as a player essential to their plans. No football player is worth such an obscene amount of money but should fans be pleased that one of the club’s best players has signed a new contract? Yes.