A transfer saga is developing between Wayne Rooney and Manchester United. Retiring manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the longtime United star requested a move but said the club isn't planning to let him go. It will make for an interesting summer.
Rooney has been an integral part of the United squad for the past nine seasons. The arrival of Robin van Persie prior to the club's latest championship campaign forced to him to move out of his natural striker role, though. His goal total dropped from 27 to 12 in league play.
A select group of United supporters let Rooney know how they felt about his transfer request by booing him during the title parade, according to Jamie Gordon of The Sun. It was a lowlight of the otherwise celebratory moment for the club.
While that would make it appear Rooney is starting to wear out his welcome after a terrific career with the Red Devils, the market for him hasn't been quick to heat up with the season coming to a close.
Less than 12 months after selling Robin van Persie to this season’s Premier League champions, the Gunners are plotting an equally dramatic move for his troubled team-mate.
Sportsmail can reveal the club’s backroom team first raised the possibility of a move for the England striker at a scouting meeting in March, having been alerted to Rooney's problems at Old Trafford.
Yet Gunners manager Arsene Wenger stated there has been no contact with United about Rooney, as reported by ESPN. He made it clear the club is focused on the season finale and not summer transfer plans.
I don’t know if Man United will sell Rooney and that is the best sign to show you we have not made any approach for him because the first move is to contact Manchester United, which we did not do. At the moment we are focused on Sunday.
Another club to distance itself from the Rooney talk is Bayern Munich. The German side will play Borussia Dortmund for the Champions League title later in the month. While they might win the coveted trophy, it doesn't sound like they are going to pursue Rooney.
Barney Ronay of The Guardian passed along comments from sporting director Matthias Sammer:
I don't know what Rooney would bring to the Bundesliga. I can't answer that. I can answer that we have great respect for Wayne Rooney but there has been no contact with him. There is no contact and he's not on the agenda. No, no. Absolutely not.
Given the limited number of clubs capable of handling both the transfer fee and Rooney's contract, it's a big deal when even one of those sides says it's not interested. It takes an option off the table if the striker does plan to keep pushing for a way out.
Where will Rooney start the 2013-14 season?
The decision by Rooney to request a move is somewhat surprising. Even though his role has changed, United are coming off a title-winning campaign, are headed for the Champions League again and he finally seemed to develop chemistry with van Persie in the latter stages of the season.
Yet there was talk about problems in paradise ever since Rooney was left on the bench during the club's UCL elimination against Real Madrid. So, the request probably didn't catch the club completely off guard. Now United must decide whether they want to indeed keep him or alter their stance once the campaign ends.
The situation has the feel of one that could drag on over the course of the entire summer, similar to the van Persie ordeal last year. As of now, where Rooney will play next season is anyone's guess.