Into history or into a new club. Wayne Rooney would be barmy to leave Manchester United.
By Oliver Wilson
There is a realistic chance that in two seasons time Wayne Rooney could be Manchester United's all time leading scorer.
The former Everton forward could eclipse Sir Bobby Charlton's immense haul of 249 goals garnered over 17 seasons at Old Trafford, a record that has stood for 40 years. Few have come close to breaking this record and even fewer have been as young as Rooney when approaching the magic mark. To out gun the clubs, and argueably England's, greatest ever striker would secure the Liverpudlian’s place in the iconic clubs history books.
Yet, with this incredible feat growing larger on the horizon, Rooney appears to be wanting away from the club that has nurtured him for the last nine years of his mixed career. When Sir Alex Ferguson bought Wayne back in 2004 for the tidy sum of £32.5 million, the 19-year-old had the world at his feet. Already heralded as the next number 9 for England, it was believed that the correct move to the correct club would be all the youngster would need to become a world beater, a player that would finally stand out for his country as one of the few players who would we, the English football fan, could truly call, world class. United, with it's insatiable habit of growing and developing youth talent, appeared to be the ideal choice.
Under the stern discipline of Sir Alex, Wayne has become on of the best hitmen in the Premier League, but his attitude on England duty has slowly fallen by the wayside. His Euro 2004 performances still, in many critics’ eyes, mark the only international competition where he has consistently shown his quality throughout the tournament, with things slipping so far on the international level that he and his England teammates were booed off the pitch in 2010 after a pitiful draw with lowly Algeria.
United, though has still proven to be a sure fire shooting ground for the forward and his trophy cabinet is filled with five Premier League, two League Cup and one Champions League winners medals. However bad things have been for Wayne, United has always been there to turn away the sceptics.
So why is he turning his back on the club, and where would be better for him to go to?
Outside pressure could well be an issue for the 27-year-old, as agents and other backroom types continue to influence footballers decisions in the modern age. Whether it is them, or the player himself, money is no doubt the key as the striker looks to seal a new deal with the club, no doubt with an increase in his weekly salary - that currently stands at estimated £250,000 a week. If that is all Rooney wants, there are slim picking on offer in England and abroad that can realistically meet such demands.
Would he walk into a Chelsea side that is pursuing the £46million Edinson Cavani from Napoli, a side that already contains Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and the driven and talented youngster that is Romelu Lukaku? If United have too much competition for places for Rooney’s liking, then Chelsea, with or without Cavani, is over run with them.
Manchester City are unlikely to grab the forward, with United well aware that providing their cross town rivals with such a prized asset is bad for business and their title challenge. If Rooney grabs 25 goals next season and City win the title, United would only have themselves to blame.
Arsenal would appear to be the only side, out of the possible English candidates, where Wayne would be able to walk straight into the clubs starting 11. However, even if Arsenal did, uncharacteristically meet the forward’s immense wages, the Gunners are hot on the trail of Gonzalo Higuain and according to the papers over the last few days – and the Argentinian striker’s father – the deal is almost ready to be finalized. With Arsene Wenger opting to play the popular 4-2-3-1 formation adopted by to many in the Premier League, Rooney would have a fight on his hands to play the leading striker role in London.
English players have traditionally struggled when heading outside of England in search of football and few can see Rooney opting to take a move to Paris St Germain, despite the rumours floating off the continent. Ian Rush’s infamous alleged comment springs to mind when thinking of Rooney on foreign soil (the former Liverpool striker, when asked about his spell in Turin playing for Juventus, supposedly said, “I couldn’t settle in Italy – it was like living in a foreign country”).
The last option mentioned for Rooney has been a trip to the former kings of Europe, Barcelona. With the world’s hottest young talent, Neymar, calling for Rooney to join him at the Catalan giants, few would questions Rooney’s motives to join a side that still, in some people’s eyes, is the best club team on the planet. Rooney, though, would be playing second fiddle to both Neymar and the four-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi. Along with Alexis Sánchez and Cesc Fabregas, Rooney would be battling for the final spot in a front three at the Nou Camp. If he wants to go to a club where he’s guaranteed to be the front-runner in front of goal, Barcelona would not be the first choice.
Rooney, with all things considered, has never had things so good in Manchester and is unlikely to improve them by leaving. Despite the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of Rooney’s former Everton manager David Moyes, nothing has changed in the red half of the city. Moyes and Rooney have, apparently, buried the hatchet after Rooney slammed him in his autobiography in 2006 and the new United manager was the man who helped to nurture the initial potential that Rooney showed in his teenage years on Merseyside. If anyone knows Rooney like Ferguson, It’s Moyes.
He stands on the brink of becoming a true legend at one of the biggest clubs in the world, despite the arrival of Robin van Persie last season, Wayne still managed to make 22 league starts and 27 total Premier League appearances last season and he will still be a key element of his new managers side because he is that good a player when he’s on form.
There are few clubs that carry the prestige of Manchester United and few players who tread the Old Trafford turf get to go into the clubs history books. Rooney can still have it all if he stay put in Manchester.