Could Manchester United Benefit from Selling Wayne Rooney?
What a difference a few weeks of goals and good performances can make.
In the summer, with conflicting stories hanging over Wayne Rooney regarding a transfer request, wage demands and stipulations that he wanted to be the club's first-choice striker, some Manchester United supporters decided it was time to call an end to his time at the club.
After all, in recent years the Englishman appeared to have degenerated into a sullen and overweight shadow of his former self.
Even now, a vocal faction of fans would like to see him dropped with his role in the team handed over to Shinji Kagawa.
Yet Rooney's first appearances for the club this season showed that such feelings are far from universal, with the matchday crowds greeting him like their prodigal son.
Their generosity of feeling didn't go to waste either, with the striker-cum-midfielder going on a fantastic run during Robin Van Persie's injury layoff to once again become United's talismanic driving force upfront.
As quickly as it had begun, the aura of discontent surrounding the player from outside the club switched into enthusiasm within, as David Moyes threw down a public gauntlet to Rooney to hit a milestone of 30 goals this season, as reported in The Guardian.
Keeping the striker and bringing him back into the fold could yet prove to be a masterstroke by the new manager, but with Tottenham Hotspur refreshed and renovated having cashed in on Gareth Bale, is there an argument that it may now be the time to auction Rooney off?
Looking at United's squad, there are a number of positions staffed by seasoned campaigners who will soon need to be replaced with top-class successors.
Patrice Evra has already made it known he wishes to move on in the summer due to "personal reasons," according to The Telegraph, with the Frenchman's gut-busting role as a wing-back, sometimes covering the whole left-side of the team, a difficult one to recruit for cheaply.
Elsewhere in the back line, the ravages of age means that provisions must be made for the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, with Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling able deputies but not like-for-like replacements.
A commanding and experienced centre-back in his mid-to-late 20s, who is comfortable on the ball and in charge of organising his peers, is again an expensive type of player to acquire.
Finally, United's midfield still looks undercooked with Marouane Fellaini's arrival adding some much-needed presence but little more. There is still a need for more creativity, pace, goals and leadership in the middle. Ed Woodward's dismal attempts to bring in the likes of Cesc Fabregas on a low-ball fee highlights both the need and cost involved with such a transfer.
Which brings us back to Rooney, who after a number of eye-catching outings so far this season, may have recaptured much of the value that was shed from his price tag during his fallow years of slobbish lifestyle choices and poor form.
His recent resurgence may even have been an attempt to place himself in the shop window, especially for European teams since Moyes is unlikely to let the player leave to go to a Premier League rival.
Should Manchester United sell an Wayne Rooney?
Should interest rise—and with it United's asking price—cashing in on Rooney like Tottenham did with Bale, could hand the club's beleaguered new manager the funds to reshape the squad to ensure that the team's future and competitiveness is assured.
There are ticking time bombs across the starting eleven at present who must be defused and replaced before the years catch up with them, scuttling what is already a difficult period of transition at Old Trafford.
Rooney could be a highly cashable asset to fund any major rebuilding work, but Moyes must decide whether selling the striker would be a smart and decisive move or akin to bargaining off the family silver.
Could United benefit from selling Rooney? What do you think?
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