For weeks on hand, the most consistently referenced superstar on the transfer market has been Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney. Despite spending the better part of a decade with the Red Devils, Rooney has been rumored as a player who could be on the move during the transfer season.
In the end, keeping Rooney is the only rational move.
Daniel Taylor of the Guardian reports that Manchester United has no intention of dealing Rooney during the transfer season. Not only is Manchester against trading Rooney, but it has never once given legitimate contemplation to moving the superstar.
Especially not to rival Chelsea.
Manchester United have taken the top-level decision that Wayne Rooney will not be sold to Chelsea no matter how much money is offered or whatever the potential risks of keeping an unhappy player. Their stance is irreversible and will represent a significant setback for José Mourinho, who had been under the impression a deal to take him to Stamford Bridge was only a matter of time.
It would be just as devastating to Chelsea to miss out on Rooney as it would be to Manchester United to transfer him without a superstar replacement.
Rooney is one of the greatest players in the history of Premier League football, registering 156 goals in league play. That places Rooney at sixth all-time, needing just six more goals to enter the top five and 33—an attainable number for a 27-year-old superstar—to move into second.
Of the players in the top 10, Rooney is tied with Andrew Cole for fourth-best ever in goal ratio.
He's been with Manchester United since 2004, helping the Red Devils win five Premier League titles in that time. As recently as 2011-12, Rooney netted 27 goals in 37 games and overcame setbacks to score 12 in an injury-plagued 27-game season in 2012-13.
In other words, the man can still play.
There's no question that the tension between Rooney and Manchester United, as documented by Taylor, is real and growing. If Rooney moves forward with his current squad, there is reason to believe that the issues between him and the Red Devils could become irreparable.
Even still, a deal to Chelsea is out of the question.
Even on his worst day, Rooney is a dangerous player who can find the back of the net at any given moment.
With Chelsea serving as just as legitimate a contender as Manchester United, the aid of a rival squad is entirely out of the question. Rooney may not be viewed in the most favorable light, but he's a top-tier player who cannot be replaced by financial compensation.
Unless Man U is able to swing a deal to land a superstar striker to replace Rooney, dealing him becomes a one-way ordeal in which a direct opponent becomes better and the Red Devils lose ground.
Per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, United has continued its dedicated scouting of Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo played with the Red Devils from 2003 to 2009 and has previously expressed interest in returning to Man U, per Duncan Wright of the Daily Star.
Until that deal is actually executed, however, all we have to go on is speculation.
There's no question that Manchester United has the money and draw power to execute a deal for a world-class player, but at this moment, there is a question: Why would any squad risk what's in place for what could be?
Until the answer is found, the question is the bottom line.
Rooney is a player who cannot be replaced by money, but instead by an equal talent. If Manchester is to deal Rooney to his rumored destination, it would instantly help Chelsea surpass the Red Devils in the Premier League standings.
Plain and simple, Manchester United would face significantly greater ramifications by transferring Rooney than by keeping the embattled star. It may be the opposite of a win-win situation, but the ultimate loss would be to deal one of the world's best to a team in direct competition.
Keeping Rooney is the only rational move.