Wayne Rooney decides not to hand in an official transfer request
Striker still has ‘unresolved issues’ over claim of former manager Alex Ferguson
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney will not be handing in a transfer request ahead of the window closing on Monday.
Wayne Rooney’s decision not to hand in an official transfer request with Manchester United finally ends a summer-long power struggle as he concedes defeat to the club.
Yet the striker still has “unresolved issues” regarding the claim of his former manager, Alex Ferguson, that he put in writing a demand to leave last season, while he also wants assurances from David Moyes over being played in his favoured position.
What is clear is that Rooney’s move should signal the end of Chelsea’s interest. On Monday evening at Old Trafford Jose Mourinho stated the striker should make formal his wish to leave within 48 hours or the prospective deal would be over, after previous bids of €23 million and €29 million were rejected by United.
Although Rooney has never said why he wanted to leave the champions, his relationship with the club ruptured after Ferguson played him in midfield, dropped him for key games, and made the claim in May that Rooney demanded a transfer.
Ferguson also constantly referred to what he perceived as Rooney’s lack of fitness and the need for him to have regular game-time to be an effective force, despite the forward being 27 and maintaining he was in prime condition.
Yet a pattern of the Scot dropping Rooney for some games became established, as did that of him being deployed in a wide role, or in central midfield. For United’s two most important matches, against Real Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League, Rooney was selected on the right for the away leg in Spain and was left out completely for the return.
Privately, the club concede that Rooney never asked for a move. But with the forward believing the former manager, who is now a director and United ambassador, was still a powerful voice he remained intent on joining Chelsea. Whether United will decide to issue a statement vindicating Rooney over the alleged transfer demand could be the next instalment in a tortuous narrative.
‘Angry and confused’
When David Moyes appeared to state that Rooney was a second choice to Robin van Persie during United’s pre-season tour this was seized upon by the forward’s camp, who let it be known he was “angry and confused”.
Moyes moved to clarify those comments, explaining that he meant Rooney was a back-up only for the lone striker role should Van Persie be injured, with the Liverpudlian still viewed as a vital asset regarding the number 10 position.
Yet the comments of Ed Woodward, the vice-president, left Rooney in little doubt he would not be offered a new deal this summer. “There are no contract renewals that are being discussed. I am not sitting down with any player on an extension and there is no trigger date in the diary. Would we be afraid to run a contract down? Of course not,” said Woodward.
With that statement Rooney learned he should not attempt to use this as leverage as United sought to make clear they had firm control of his future.
This was reiterated when Chelsea followed Mourinho’s declaration of interest in Rooney during the club’s own tour by making two offers that were turned down. United were insistent that Rooney was not for sale and, furthermore, would not countenance allowing a direct rival to buy an asset who could help wrest the title from them.
With Rooney now appearing set to stay, but this time on United’s terms, he will at least benefit from the prudent decision to say nothing publicly. During United’s 4-1 win at Swansea City 10 days ago and in the stalemate with Chelsea, he received a surprisingly warm reception from fans. And, with United next at fierce rivals Liverpool for Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off, Rooney can expect to draw their support again.