Manchester United Transfer News: Focus to Switch from Juan Mata to Wayne Rooney

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney applauds supporters as he walks from the pitch after his team's 2-1 loss to Tottenham in their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The deal isn't done yet, but Juan Mata's impending introduction as a Manchester United player will leave many wondering what's next for the Premier League champions.

It's inevitable that if the Red Devils sign Mata, as is expected, the spotlight will once again shift toward Wayne Rooney, examining what his true intentions are as a United player.

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

News of the Spaniard's move to Manchester went into overdrive on Wednesday evening, after BBC Sport disclosed that Chelsea had accepted a bid in the region of £37 million for their player's signature:

Rooney's position at Old Trafford has come under renewed strain this season, with little under 18 months remaining on the striker's contract and no extension yet in sight.

However, Martin Lipton and Alan Nixon of The Mirror write that Mata's arrival will lead to Rooney putting pen to paper over his own new terms:

Wayne Rooney wants to stay at Manchester United—and the club are ready to open talks with him once they have tied up the signature of Juan Mata.

United boss David Moyes has also told his money-men to start discussions with Rooney—to keep the England striker out of the Stamford Bridge club's grasp in the summer.

Despite United's fall from grace under David Moyes, the 28-year-old forward is enjoying arguably his most fruitful season to date. Rooney has scored nine goals and made 11 assists in 16 Premier League starts, per Transfermarkt.

Jon Super/Associated Press

It's clear that the star will be essential if Moyes is to stage any sort of revival at the Theatre of Dreams, and while more transfer signings will be a high priority for the former Everton boss, tying Rooney down to a new deal should also be considered paramount.

Following the Capital One Cup defeat against Sunderland on Wednesday evening, the BBC's Nick Sutton tweeted Thursday's Mirror back page, which read that Rooney will put pen to paper over a new deal at Old Trafford:

However, Goal's Wayne Veysey says Mata is a replacement for an outbound Rooney, not an addition to:

The predicament resembles that of a similar contract feud that erupted in 2010, when Rooney was quoted by the Daily Mail saying he required "assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world."

Largely thanks to the club's dive down the Premier League standings, it has been supposed that those concerns are once again on the player's mind.

Mata's record-breaking move to Manchester should go some way to convincing Rooney that the club are on their way to getting back on track. Irrespective of a lack of involvement in West London this term, the two-time Chelsea Player of the Year remains one of the most respected playmakers in the land.

Securing Rooney's United loyalties to play in tandem with Mata will become as important as signing a new player for the Premier League titans, who need to add to their stars rather than merely replace them.