Manchester United must push for a quick resolution to the Wayne Rooney saga. The last thing either the club or the superstar forward should want is for the situation to drag on throughout the summer, which would leave both sides in a difficult position.
Whether the ultimate decision is for Rooney to remain at Old Trafford or join a new club, there's no reason it can't be made with a sense of urgency. Should it be the latter, United can act swiftly to move him and find a replacement for next season and beyond.
Jamie Jackson of The Guardian reports new Red Devils manager David Moyes could meet with Rooney in the near future to determine where they stand. They previously met before the offseason break to discuss the longtime United star's concerns.
David Moyes could meet with Wayne Rooney on Wednesday for crucial discussions over the forward's future, as the Manchester United manager speaks to his squad individually for the first time before Thursday's opening day of pre-season training.
The task Moyes faces is extremely difficult. Not only does he face the immense pressure of filling Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes, but he must do so while preparing to defend a Premier League title while also juggling the transfer questions, including those involving Rooney.
So the sooner he can eliminate one of those concerns, the more he can focus on everything else on his plate. That's why the talks with Rooney are crucial. In a perfect world, he can clear the air and get Rooney to commit. If not, it's time to explore the available options.
David Maddock of the Daily Mirror states sources close to the United boss believe Moyes is still hoping Rooney will remain with the club. On the other hand, Rooney wants public clarification about the rumored transfer request near the end of last season.
But Ferguson's presence as a new director of the club makes things difficult, because the forward has also told Moyes he would need the club to 'clarify' the events of last season and make clear he didn't submit a transfer request - or ask to be left out on the final day of the season.
That would amount to a climb-down for Fergie and is clearly not going to happen - the former boss is still quietly suggesting to the board that Rooney was frequently injured last season, and is at an age when any transfer fee would be maximized.
Clearly, there are some differences that need to get worked through and various angles both sides need to analyze the situation from, which takes some time. Probably more than any single early-summer meeting would allow.
That said, Moyes and Rooney can't allow the saga to drag on and become ripe for even more fodder. Whether it takes one meeting or five for a consensus about his future to develop, it should be taken care of right away.
Should an Old Trafford exit be the outcome, it would then set off a chain of new challenges for Moyes to tackle, including finding a replacement. It's a search that would probably include both in-house candidates and potential transfer targets.
Will Rooney start next season with United?
Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are two players who should be ready for more extensive roles playing behind Robin van Persie. Whether Moyes feels comfortable relying on them or would prefer a more accomplished option is unclear.
The biggest problem is the longer the Rooney situation remains up in the air, the harder it will be to settle those other issues. And Moyes will be seeking as much stability as possible heading into his first campaign leading Manchester United.
All told, a clear answer about Rooney's future has yet to develop. Finding one should be atop Moyes' to-do list as he begins preparations for the preseason and the transfer market begins to heat up.
It's his first major test as United manager. Only time will tell if he passes it.