Rooney future to remain in limbo
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson (centre) speaks with Wayne Rooney on the touchline. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA
The future of Wayne Rooney looks set to remain in limbo for the foreseeable future, with Paris Saint-Germain unlikely to decide whether to make a move for him until closer to the end of the season.
Manchester United are said to be ready to consider offers for their once talismanic striker, who was left out of the starting XI for Tuesday’s Champions League defeat by Real Madrid, but there will be a keen desire in the club’s hierarchy to avoid talking down the player’s value.
When Rooney performed a dramatic volte-face in October 2010 and signed a five-year contract on €285,000 a week days after threatening to leave amid keen interest from Manchester City it is understood the move was personally sanctioned by the Glazers following a conference call with Alex Ferguson and the chief executive, David Gill.
It was a key moment in the owners’ tenure – pushed by Ferguson, they agreed to break the club’s wage structure as a demonstration that the onerous financial obligations placed on Manchester United by their debt-funded takeover would not prevent them from matching the wages on offer from their well-funded local rivals.
It is one of several ironies of the situation that in delivering on their promise to Rooney to sign better players, the issue the player claimed was at the heart of his dissatisfaction, it is the 27-year-old who has ended up being sidelined.
But if Rooney is seen as damaged goods, it will affect the fee he can command, particularly in the absence of much competition for his services.
The club would look to recoup at least the €30 million they spent on signing him from Everton, but the number of clubs willing to buy him has contracted with the introduction of Uefa’s financial fair play rules.
Both Manchester City and Chelsea, who were keen on Rooney in 2010, have less interest now and it is understood the former have ruled out a bid. An approach from PSG has been mooted but their list of transfer targets for next season remains in a state of flux.
Neither Real Madrid, Barcelona nor Bayern Munich are expected to take an interest – leaving the list of potential buyers a short one.
The introduction of Uefa’s FFP rules are also a factor for any club hoping to lure Rooney, especially if he hopes to maintain his salary.
Whether Rooney stays will be Ferguson’s decision but financial considerations will surely play a part. If the forward is deemed to be on the fringe of the manager’s plans, there would be a reticence to pay €285,000 a week to a squad player.