Manchester United’s owners, the Glazer family, were convinced Wayne Rooney would leave Old Trafford for local rivals Manchester City after the striker submitted a formal transfer request in October 2010.
This is according to the Glazers’ former spokesman Tehsin Nayani - and brought to our attention by the Independent - who describes “a growing resignation among the club’s hierarchy” that Rooney would be “on his way out to join Abu-Dhabi owned Manchester City”.
Speculation was rife at the time that Rooney favoured a move to the Etihad Stadium, even though the England international later stated he would never have signed for Man City, but this latest testimony reveals just how close the Red Devils came to losing the player on course to become their all-time top goalscorer.
Nayani felt Rooney was having a dig at the Glazers
Rooney went on to perform a dramatic U-turn, penning a new long-term contract worth a reported £200,000-a-week, and later admitted handing in the transfer request had been his ‘biggest mistake’.
Nayani appears to have a fairly low opinion of Rooney, who he accuses of making a “crudely disguised dig” at the Glazers by claiming Manchester United were no longer able to “attract the top players in the world”.
Water under the bridge - despite 2013 controversy
But it’s all water under the bridge between Manchester United and Rooney, who was appointed captain of the club following Louis van Gaal’s arrival at Old Trafford last summer.
This is despite the fact legendary United manager Sir Alex Ferguson publicly stated, not long before his Old Trafford departure, that Rooney had asked to leave the club for a second time.
The powerful striker denied Ferguson’s suggestion that he had submitted another official transfer request, and eventually signed another long-term contract with the Premier League giants - this time worth a staggering £300,000-a-week - in February 2014.
David Moyes deserves credit
Credit must go to Van Gaal’s predecessor David Moyes for the excellent manner in which he dealt with the Rooney predicament following his appointment as Ferguson’s successor.
Without Moyes’ calm and measured approach it’s more than possible that Rooney would now be a player of either Chelsea or Paris Saint-Germain.
Rooney is United's best striker - and a club legend
Rooney has demonstrated this season that he remains the best striker at Manchester United - and, as captain, arguably the club’s most important player.
The England skipper needs another 20 goals to become United’s all-time top scorer - and, despite the transfer request in 2010, will leave Old Trafford as a bonafide club legend.
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