It’s common knowledge that Jose Mourinho courted the England international’s signature over the course of the summer, and he has spoken out again recently in regard to Rooney’s future as per Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.
But David Moyes has brushed off Mourinho’s claims that Rooney will seek pastures new in the summer, and the United boss needs to do his utmost to keep the England international at the club, whatever the cost.
Moyes was riled by Mourinho’s comments, claiming that they couldn’t be further off the mark, per David Maddock of the Mirror:
I completely disagree. I can only tell you I disagree. Although he will go to Brazil [to play in the World Cup]...
The club will deal with that. They will do all the things they need to do, no question.
Whilst these remarks from Mourinho wreak of mind games ahead of Manchester United’s clash with his side, Moyes will certainly be concerned about Rooney’s reluctance to sign a new deal at the club, per ESPN.
The England international’s current contract runs until the summer of 2015, and if United fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, it is difficult to see Rooney committing to another long-term deal.
Whilst that will be of major interest to Mourinho and a host of other top bosses across the continent, it is a scenario that Moyes will no doubt be keen to avoid. Ideally, he needs to get Rooney signed up to a new deal before the end of the campaign.
But with the England international’s desire to leave the club in the summer very well-documented, you suspect Rooney will hang fire on signing any potential new deal until the club's future—in terms of both final standings and transfer ambitions—becomes clear.
In short, that would be a disaster for Moyes. Rooney has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise frustrating season for the champions. On occasion, the former Everton forward has dragged United to results with a host of energetic displays. He took his game up a notch in the early part of the campaign and has been one of the best forwards in the Premier League so far this season.
His recent absence through injury has only compounded how crucial a figure Rooney is to this United side. At the start of 2014, United lost three games in a week, and in the two games without him, the Red Devils offense looked short of creativity and downright toothless in front of goal.
Rooney is an exceptional player who has developed into a hugely important figure for Manchester United. You suspect that if Moyes has any chance of tying down his prize asset that a top-four finish is an absolute must. So on pitch, the results need to improve.
|Wayne Rooney Stats 2013/14 (All Competitions)|
|Appearances (As A Substitute)||16(1)|
|Average Shots Per Game||3.2|
|Average Key Pass Per Game||2.4|
Whilst Moyes ruled out a return to the the first team for Rooney against Chelsea in his press conference, Maddock notes that Rooney could yet force his way back into contention. According to the piece, Rooney took part in a session behind closed doors with a view to him possibly playing at Stamford Bridge.
If United are to breach the top four and Rooney were to commit his long-term future to the club, a match-winning display against Chelsea would certainly be an appropriate place to start. Who'd bet against him making the difference on Sunday?