Updates from Friday, Feb. 21
Wayne Rooney's new contract has reportedly been signed at Manchester United, according to multiple reports on Friday.
Official confirmation is yet to arrive, but BBC Sport claims the following:
England striker Wayne Rooney reaches agreement on new five-and-a-half-year contract at Manchester United #mufc— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 21, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Feb. 20
Wayne Rooney's anticipated new deal with Manchester United is being delayed by details concerning the player's image rights, reports the Guardian's Jamie Jackson.
Wayne Rooney's £70m Manchester United deal is being held up by ongoing negotiations over his image rights, although the club remain convinced the striker will sign a new four and a-half year contract in the next week.
While the football part of the deal – which is worth around £300,000 a-week and is likely to include becoming the club's new captain – has been agreed, the off-field payments and incentives built into the terms are yet to be agreed by United and the Rooney camp.
Updates from Sunday, Feb. 16
The front page of the Sun screams “Rooney signed for life – Wayne pens new deal at United”, while the Sunday Times headline their report saying “Wayne Rooney to stay at Manchester United until 2018 in £70.2 million deal”.
Sky Sports later contradicted the report:
Sky Sources: Wayne Rooney yet to sign contract extension with Manchester United contrary to today's newspaper reports #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 16, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Jan. 28
Wayne Rooney's new Manchester United contract will make him the highest-paid player in the country, according to Tuesday's report from Ian Ladyman in the Daily Mail.
The extension could even be done by the end of the transfer window, claims Ladyman:
Wayne Rooney is increasingly confident of signing a new record-breaking contract at Manchester United and could even put pen to paper by the end of the week, it emerged on Monday night.
There are some details of an agreement still to be ironed out but sources at United told Sportsmail that things could move quickly once Rooney and his agent Paul Stretford get round the table again with the club's chief executive Ed Woodward.
A new deal would take Rooney's incentive-based pay up towards the £300,000-a-week mark and that would make him the highest paid player in the country.
Manchester United are trying to quell the seemingly endless transfer drama surrounding Wayne Rooney by reaching out to the superstar forward about potentially signing a long-term contract extension to remain at Old Trafford.
Sky Sports reports United reached out to Rooney's representatives and the sides are now discussing a four-year agreement. The England international, who generated interest from around Europe last summer, currently has 18 months left on his deal:
The 28-year-old has 18 months left on his current deal, but the club has contacted Rooney's representatives and the offer to start talks over a contract extension has been accepted.
Rooney is likely to be offered a four-year extension to his current terms with both the club and the England striker keen to secure a deal.
BBC Sport adds United are also interested in an agreement that would ensure Rooney stays with the club for the rest of his career:
Man Utd open talks with England striker Wayne Rooney over a new contract that could keep him at the club for the rest of his career— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 25, 2014
Daniel Taylor of The Guardian broke the story that Rooney has been given access to information Manchester United typically doesn't tell its players:
Wayne Rooney was persuaded to change his mind about leaving Manchester United after being given the kind of privileged access to the club's spending plans that Sir Alex Ferguson had previously denied him, the Guardian can reveal.
Rooney was given advance notice about the £37.1m deal to sign Juan Mata and has also spoken at length to the manager, David Moyes, and the chief executive, Ed Woodward, about their vision of the club under the Glazer family's ownership, in complete contrast to what happened when Ferguson was in charge.
The England striker has been trusted with transfer-market information and kept in the loop about possible signings in a move that acknowledges his importance to the club and a recognition, at the highest level within Old Trafford, that a player of Rooney's stature deserves to know whether a team who have been struggling all season have the financial muscle and ambition to put it right.
The fact that Rooney is apparently interested in securing the new deal is a great sign for United. There were times during the summer transfer window where it seemed an exit was on the horizon, but the Red Devils did everything in their power to keep him.
It started to become clear back in October that the forward wasn't pushing for an exit. In fact, Paul Wilson of The Guardian passed along comments from him at the time that showed he was actually enjoying the new staff, led by David Moyes:
The new coaching staff have come in and it's really a new lease of life. I'm really enjoying working under David Moyes and his staff. I feel like I am in the prime of my career, I feel good, I feel fit and I am just enjoying my football.
Neither report about the extension talks sheds any light on how much progress has been made or whether an announcement of a new deal is expected soon.
Sky Sports does note the addition of Juan Mata should help United's efforts, as one of Rooney's issues in past negotiations was a lack of marquee signings. Whether the club's struggles this season will play a role is unknown.
Do you think Rooney will ever leave Manchester United?
That said, it's always been difficult to imagine Rooney leaving United. Ever since he arrived from Everton early in his career he's seemed like a perfect fit for the storied club and has handled any transfer sagas well.
He's scored 11 goals and chipped in 12 assists in 22 appearances across Premier League and Champions League play this season. United hope he's able to stay healthy and find top form down the stretch as they attempt to push back toward another UCL berth.
Looking ahead, Rooney should have several years of strong play left before decline even becomes part of the equation. Getting him locked up with an extension now to at least quiet the transfer talk for awhile would be a positive.
It sounds like United are working hard to make that happen.