The rumours connecting Wayne Rooney to Chelsea just won't go away, dating back to this summer. But there is one way Manchester United could put that rumour to bed—by signing their star forward to a contract extension.
Of course, that doesn't appear likely to happen, at least not yet.
Manchester United are in no rush to open talks with Wayne Rooney about a new contract—despite Chelsea’s renewed interest in him.
Rooney has just 18 months left on his current deal and—as we revealed on Wednesday—Jose Mourinho's Londoners are poised to make a fresh bid for him in the summer.
But United officials are relaxed about the striker’s contractual situation and will not be rushed into talks with his representatives.
Crucially, the champions believe Rooney is now happy at the club and has no desire to leave, despite questioning his Old Trafford future last summer.
You could make a strong argument that Rooney has more than earned an extension with his play this season, even after the tumultuous summer he put the club through. He's easily been United's best player this season, with 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 appearances across all competitions.
While Robin van Persie has struggled with injuries, David Moyes has struggled with adjusting to life managing the iconic side and the entire team in general has struggled to play up to their potential, Rooney has been the savior.
According to WhoScored.com, Rooney has earned an average match rating of 7.62. This is easily the best for United and only trails Luis Suarez (8.71), Aaron Ramsey (7.96), Sergio Aguero (7.76), Fernandinho (7.68) and Steven Gerrard (7.68), and is tied with Olivier Giroud in the Premier League.
Who is the most valuable player in the Premier League this season?
And for as good as all of those players have been, you could make the argument that Rooney has been more valuable for United than all of those players have been for their respective teams. If you take away his goals and assists this season in the Premier League, United would have 10 less points, putting them at 12 points in the Premier League.
That would leave them in 19th place, folks.
It's probably time to ensure Rooney finishes his career with United. With Chelsea's constant (rumoured) interest and the struggles the Red Devils have faced this season, Rooney may get the itch to switch allegiances again, either in January or next summer.
And with all of the issues United already have, the last thing they need is their most indispensable player causing a stir.
United shouldn't overplay their hand in this case. Even if he has 18 months left on his contract, Rooney remains the key to turning things around this season. If he becomes unhappy with the club, well, an already poor season could turn absolutely horrid.