The 27-year-old superstar took on a lesser role last term behind Robin van Persie—a path former manager Sir Alex Ferguson chose as the best course for the club.
While Rooney didn’t seem content with playing second fiddle to van Persie, there was little reason to believe it would be enough to force his Old Trafford exit.
But in the months since, Rooney’s loyalty to United has been called into question on several occasions, and it now appears Rooney has essentially sealed his fate with the club.
According to Ben Smith of BBC Sport, Rooney is “angered and confused” about new manager David Moyes’ preference to van Persie, and Rooney’s time certainly looks to be up:
Rooney, 27, has expressed his disappointment to senior figures at the club and insisted he would not accept a squad role behind Robin van Persie.
The England forward has two years left on his contract with United.
Given the drama surrounding Rooney’s last few months at Old Trafford, his potential exit comes as no surprise. What is surprising, however, is that it took an innocuous comment from Moyes to break apart the whole situation.
What Rooney’s resistance to his role indicates is a player-first mentality that, at least to this point, hasn’t been reason enough for United to openly entertain selling him. But Rooney’s refusal to give way to van Persie is a shining example of a player who is only going to cause more internal strife should he stay put.
How much should Manchester United ask in return for Rooney?
For United, the choice is simple. There is no shortage of clubs willing to pay top dollar for Rooney’s services, and United are going to get a handsome reward should they ultimately deal him.
At this point, they really have no reason to continue attempting to patch things up. Rooney burned that bridge, and he’s effectively signed his own walking papers.
But that doesn’t mean United are going to sell Rooney at a bargain rate.
According to Dominic Fifield and Jamie Jackson of The Guardian, the Red Devils have already rejected at least one unfitting offer, turning down a reported Chelsea bid valued at approximately £20 million:
Chelsea have reacted furiously to suggestions they were willing to include either Juan Mata or David Luiz as a make-weight in a prospective deal for Wayne Rooney after their initial straight cash offer for the England striker, thought to be worth around £20m, was rejected.
Whatever the actual terms of the offer, United have made it known they won’t sell the elite striker for peanuts, especially after claiming on several occasions that they wouldn’t sell him, per Phil McNulty of BBC Sport.
The club has all the leverage in the situation, but Rooney played the biggest role—he made it known he no longer wanted an Old Trafford future.
One could suggest Rooney may be persuaded to ultimately stay if he were awarded a new contract, but as noted by Jackson, United have no intention of working out an extension and have no problem letting Rooney’s current contract run down.
Regardless of where he ends up, there’s virtually no chance Rooney remains with United going forward. If suitors are plentiful—as they appear to be—you can count on Rooney making an Old Trafford exit at some point this summer.