Wayne Rooney's Reported New Deal Sets Dangerous Precedent for Manchester United

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentFebruary 17, 2014

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There are two ways of looking at Wayne Rooney's proposed new deal at Manchester United.

Stuart Mathieson of the Manchester Evening News is reporting that Rooney's future is close to being sorted, with the England striker ready to sign a new £300,000-a-week deal to keep him at Old Trafford until 2018.

But is it positive news for the club or a sign of how far they have fallen?

We have been conditioned to believe that when a key player signs a contract extension, it must be good news for the club. In that sense, Rooney's new contract is a boost for United and David Moyes.

In a disappointing season, Rooney has been one of the better United players and a new deal will keep him at Old Trafford until after his 30th birthday. Already 28 years old, United fans should see his most productive years.

It also removes the awkward possibility that he could join a domestic rival—Chelsea, perhaps, or Arsenal—and also demonstrates that United can still offer competitive wages in an age of giant spenders like Chelsea, Manchester City, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

Still, few United fans will be keeling over with excitement.

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01:  David Moyes, manager of Manchester United walks off with Wayne Rooney after the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on February 1, 2014 in Stoke on Trent, Engl
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

A poor start to the season, and the prospect of a huge rebuild under Moyes this summer, meant United couldn't afford to lose one of their genuine stars.

It allowed Rooney to hold all the cards during the negotiations and the size of the package he is set to receive, if the reports are correct, offer the proof.

Whether Rooney is worth £300,000 a week is a debate for another time. However, United have shown that, by offering those terms, he is worth it to them. That says more about where United arein a transitional period after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirementthan Rooney's place in the list of the world's best players.

It also sets a dangerous precedent.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Juan Mata of Manchester United is substituted during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on February 12, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Im
Michael Regan/Getty Images

After spending a club-record £37.1 million on Juan Mata in the January transfer window, United are set to spend even more heavily in the summer.

That means signing big players for big money.

It's looking increasingly likely that Moyes will have to sell a club without the pull of Champions League football this summer.

Whether the purists like it or not, money plays a large part in a player's decision to swap clubs. 

If United can't offer Champions League football, but Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea can, who will have to offer the biggest wages?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work it out.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26:  Manchester United Manager David Moyes and Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho (R) look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on August 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If United get around the negotiating table with a world-class midfielder or international left-back this summer, then they might find their targets demanding a figure close to the one Rooney receives.

And why shouldn't they?

What new recruit wants to be told they are only worth one-third or half as much to their new employers as the club's top earner?

Desperate times call for desperate measure and United look set to pay over the odds to keep Rooney. They may find they'll have to do more of the same this summer.


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