Football

Wayne Rooney staying is better than any signing

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The inquest is underway to identify the failings of Manchester United during the transfer window, with the Premier League champions this summer resembling more Homer Simpson haggling with Laramie cigarettes than the master negotiators in the market they should be.

Manchester United had 76 days between their final game of the 2012-13 season and the close of the summer transfer period in which to replenish their squad, but were left to look like bungling amateurs on deadline day.

Approaches were made for Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas, Wesley Sneijder, Sami Khedira and Ander Herrera, but the 20-time league winners emerged with only a hastily acquired and over-priced Belgian within their clutches.

But as David Moyes faces up publicly to the club's abject performance in the window and Ed Woodward has his credentials intensely questioned, these two key players in the summer failures can be content with one expert piece of business.

Retaining the services of Wayne Rooney beyond the deadline is more important than any signing the club could have made during the allotted time, and the club's unwillingness to even negotiate a possible transfer is admirable at the very least.

Rooney had submitted a transfer request, according to Sir Alex Ferguson, prior to the club's final home game of the season and, with Robin van Persie establishing himself as Manchester United's lead striker, the temptation to sell the former would have been understandable.

Selling the player made sense in terms of harmony and finance: Rooney wanted to leave, his sale would result in a significant transfer fee, and see his exorbitant wages removed from the club's payroll.

But, despite serious interest from Chelsea, Manchester United held firm and maintained Rooney would not be sold for any price. In doing so, they retain a player - when on form - who can prove more valuable than any potential acquisition.

A new Paul Scholes, albeit much needed in the centre of midfield, would have been a necessity had Rooney departed, but perhaps a relative luxury after it emerged the England international would stay at Old Trafford.

The signing of Fellaini, a more robust option than David Moyes' other summer targets, supplements the retention of Rooney, with the latter able to operate as the creative influence the club seemingly so desperately crave.

Rooney may favour playing as the focal point at the summit of Manchester United's attack, but a deeper role is one in which he can really flourish, and potentially negate the need to return for Herrera - or someone else - in January.

Moyes and Woodward will be castigated for their incompetence this summer, and rightly so, but things may not appear to be quite so perilous if Rooney demonstrates he was worth holding on to.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Football
Wayne Rooney

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