Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has been linked with a £40million move to the Qatari-backed French club Paris St Germain.
There are little surprises in football these days, but a move for England’s best player from England’s biggest club must be unlikely. However, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has ruthlessly offloaded star players over the many years at Old Trafford – would there be a price that Ferguson would accept, and if so what might it be?
Rooney enters the final two years of his contract in the summer and at 28 his transfer value to wages ratio will decrease. The Red Devils’ number ten is in his prime and will look to maintain or even increase his reported £250,000-a-week wages.
Do United tie in a player who is no longer the top striker with Robin van Persie banging in the goals and with an indifferent injury record over the last few seasons to a long term, high earning deal? Would they risk another Rooney contract wrangle?
The likelihood is Rooney would accept the same wages and not expect a five-year deal, instead graduating into the elder statesman class at Old Trafford that has esteemed members such as Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick. Consistent one or two extensions to present deals offer enough security to both player and club, and with Rooney settled into family life there seems little reason for upheaval.
Unlike some British players, the ex-Everton prodigy has never expressed a desire to play abroad. His achievements at United include four Premier League titles, one Champions League, two league cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. Another Premier League winners medal looks set to arrive in May, and United are still challenging in the FA Cup and Europe.
Ferguson has history when it comes to player sales catching people off guard. Paul Ince was sold to Inter Milan at 28, with Fergie labelling him a ‘big time charlie’, Jaap Stam was sold to Lazio, something Ferguson later admitted was a mistake, while David Beckham was sold to Real Madrid. However, he has persisted with Rooney, despite fitness issues, despite off field activities, and the England international has repaid Fergie with over 190 goals for United, as well as plenty of hard work.
It is Rooney’s work rate that make him such a versatile and integral member of Ferguson’s side. Able to play up top, slightly off a man striker, or any of the attacking three in a 4-2-3-1, as against Real Madrid in the 1-1 draw in the Bernabeu two weeks ago, his tenacity, brute strength, team work and ability to create and score is something United would sorely miss.
While Gareth Bale is grabbing the headlines at the moment, Rooney continues maintain a high level of consistency, and 13 goals in 26 appearances this year is no bad return for a player who struggled for fitness in the early months of the season and is often played in a deep role.
Rooney still attracts the world’s attention and his game, as well as his temperament, have matured over the years. It is easy to see why Carlo Ancelotti would push his backers to fund a move for the England star but in a way Rooney is more valuable to United than Cristiano Ronaldo ever was.
He has been with the club longer, he has gone toe to toe with the club over his contract and won, and he works hard for the team without need of the adoration of the media spotlight.
Wayne Rooney is surely set to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand and end his career at Old Trafford. £40 million? I don’t think Fergie would even bother to respond.
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