If Wayne Rooney Stays at Manchester United, Who Leaves?
When Sir Alex Ferguson dropped Rooney for the Red Devils' final two games of the 2012-13 season all hell broke loose regarding his future. Rumors about his departure from United were rampant before the final ball of the season was even kicked.
Ferguson revealed he had dropped the England star to BBC's Match of the Day, and the world in general, because the forward had "asked for a transfer." From there it looked like his days were numbered at Old Trafford
Since then, Rooney has denied asking for a transfer according to the Daily Mirror, and it would seem that his version of events is beginning to ring true.
So, if Rooney stays, does that mean another player might be forced to move on?
There are players at United who would have been quite happy to see Rooney leave as their careers would almost automatically have been furthered—especially in a World Cup season.
Here, Bleacher Report looks at the players whose career might be set back by Rooney staying and who might just have to leave—sooner or later.
Shinji Kagawa will not leave Manchester United this summer unless something spectacular happens between now and August.
However, if Wayne Rooney stays his chances of playing in his preferred position just behind the striker becomes more diminished.
The 24-year-old joined United in a surprise transfer from Borussia Dortmund last summer. He was brought in to add guile and intelligence to Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield. He found the going difficult in his first season in the Premier League as he featured 20 times.
Kagawa never grasped the attacking center midfield role with any real conviction and ended up playing in numerous positions. He played across all the attacking midfield roles in Fergie's 4-2-3-1 formations and even found himself being utilized as left-midfielder in a 4-4-2 from time to time.
The Japanese earned a massive reputation at Dortmund as a creative dynamo in the No. 10 role. However, that position is monopolized by Rooney at United.
Next season is a World Cup year and Kagawa is now an established squad player. He would be unlikely to move during the summer as a transfer could potentially ruin his preparation for the World Cup in Brazil.
If Rooney stays then David Moyes, United's new manager, will almost definitely play him in the No. 10 role. This could then see Kagawa used on the left in a similar fashion to how Moyes used Steven Pienaar at Everton.
Kagawa might just give a transfer a thought if he wants to play in his preferred role for club and country. Japan will be looking to defend their Asia Cup trophy in Australia in 2015.
Javier Hernandez may have to consider leaving Manchester United should Wayne Rooney stay.
The 25-year-old Mexican international joined United in April 2010 after United had tracked the striker for a number of months.
Since then he had developed a superb reputation as an exquisite finisher and as a supreme professional. That being said, Chicharito has never become a first team regular. He has played 77 EPL matches for United since 2010. However, he has appeared as a substitute in 35 of those matches.
Having not established himself as a first choice striker since 2010, it is highly unlikely that Hernandez will usurp Robin van Persie or Rooney over the next two seasons. Those two seasons are crucial because Chicharito is out of contract at United in 2016.
2016 will be the year that the Copa America is held in the United States. You can be sure that Mexico will want to participate in the tournament having missed out on hosting the competition in 2015.
Hernandez is a squad player at United, but has the powers to become a star at another team—just like Diego Forlan.
Forlan spent three uneasy seasons at United between 2001 and 2004. He was mainly used as a squad player and played 63 times before moving on to Villareal. It was at the Yellow Submarines that he became a household name in Spain and Chicharito could easily follow the same route.
He might have to if Rooney's presence marginalizes him further.
Danny Welbeck is a pure Manchester United product and has played for England at every level. The 16-times capped international is still developing as a player and at 22 he has many miles left in his legs.
Since breaking into United's first team in 2008, Welbeck has progressed each and every year.
He is stronger, both physically and technically, and is also established as a first team squad player. His adaptability and versatility are his greatest strengths, but they are also his greatest weakness.
At United, Welbeck must be happy with a place on the pitch and as such he rarely features in the same position two games in a row. In 2011-12 he started 23 games from 30, but last season he only started 13 from 27 games.
Ferguson used Welbeck up front in the same manner as how he used John O'Shea at the back. The Irish international became a jack of all trades but was most importantly a master of none.
The sacrifice was team success, trophies and medals over personal evolution as a player. As one of England's brightest prospects it is not beyond the realms of imagination to see Welbeck as a star center-forward elsewhere in the EPL.
This will be something he will have to consider in the near future. Welbeck is also out of contract in 2016. By then he will be a powerfully built 25-year-old. Unless he succeeds Robin van Persie or Rooney, by then, he will have to consider leaving the Theatre of Dreams.
Federico Macheda is the forgotten man at Manchester United.
The 21-year-old Italian U-21 international burst onto the scene in 2009. He scored twice in the dying moments of a Premier League match against Aston Villa to give United a 3-2 win when defeat looked inevitable.
At the time the 17-year-old was the toast of the football world. Everyone wondered how Sir Alex Ferguson had produced another "fledgling" of such quality and greatness was predicted in many quarters.
It would be fair to say that things have changed dramatically since that fateful day at Old Trafford.
Macheda has barely featured for United since and the most amount of games he has played in a single season is seven in 2010-11 and five of those were as a substitute.
All together he has featured 19 times for United with the vast majority of those having come from the bench.
When Ferguson announced his retirement and the possibility of Rooney leaving, Macheda was the one man who would have rejoiced at both prospects.
Now, with Rooney possibly staying it means that Macheda will be way down the list of potential strike partners for Robin van Persie.
Macheda should take note from the last Italian prospect to play at United—Giuseppe Rossi.
Rossi's career at United, between 2004 and 2007, followed a similar trajectory to Macheda's.
He eventually left to join Villareal as Diego Forlan's replacement in 2007. Forlan had joined El Madrigal from United in 2004 after an unsuccessful stint at United. Rossi enjoyed six great seasons at Villareal and joined Fiorentina for €10 million in 2013.
With the amount of attacking midfield, striking and financial options available to David Moyes, Macheda might be best served by a transfer away from the Premier League this summer.