New Deal an Opportunity for Wayne Rooney to Cement Manchester United Legacy

Janusz MichallikFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

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A lot of people, many of them Manchester United fans, are questioning whether Wayne Rooney is worth the reported £300,000 per week deal, as per The Independent, he has been awarded in a new contract that will see his career through until 2019 at Old Trafford.

Those doubts will fire up Rooney. There are some players who are at their best under pressure, and Rooney is one of them. He's a tough character and one of the most competitive in the game. We should not underestimate that he responds well to adversity.

Like Luis Suarez, Rooney is a born fighter. He comes from a background where winning is everything; on his day, that trait puts him inside the top 10 players in the world for me. That's why United had no choice but to make an offer that made him happy.

At his most committed, Rooney is invaluable to United. You might argue he's worth £400,000 per week or perhaps even more, because his staying is a signal of United's intent, and losing Rooney to a Premier League rival is unthinkable.

With that in mind, there's a chance we'll look back on this huge new deal as being excellent value for the club.

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Rooney now has an opportunity—and an obligation—to carry United back to greatness. He needs support from everyone at the club and for the board to make ambitious moves in the transfer market, but if that arrives, he can cement his status as an iconic player in the club's rich tradition.

True legends are often tested most in the worst of times. Rooney has been part of successful teams and won a host of trophies with United, but this is the time to add to his legacy by responding to adversity. The club have given him what he wants; now we'll see how he sees fit to repay them.

Speaking about his star player, United manager David Moyes hinted at just that, per the Daily Telegraph:

For Wayne, I think he’s recognised people like Bobby Charlton, George Best and the way those big stars are seen here. I think that, to be a legend at Manchester United, it is something where you are associated with this club for the rest of your life.

Wayne’s next thing is that we have to keep challenging him to get those goals, make those big targets. Make them the things you want to achieve.

Had United failed to agree a new deal with Rooney, the chain reaction could have been disastrous—at a time when the club are particularly vulnerable. When he left, the commercial ramifications would have been the loss of his star power, combined with a possible dip in appeal for sponsors. Seeing Rooney move elsewhere would have been read as a sign of a club in decline, unable to keep hold of their best players.

That in turn would have affected the players United could have attracted this summer and in transfer windows to come.

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Of course, Rooney and his agent Paul Stretford have played United like a fiddle. Every time they've sneezed, United have rewarded Rooney with a new deal—even when he hasn't been at his best. United understand that the best Rooney is a happy one with a chip on his shoulder.

It's not all about money. The important thing for United is Rooney has committed his career to the club. There was no way, in my opinion, he was ever going to play in Europe. He's a Liverpool kid, and England was the only option. Now United is the only option, and I sense both sides knew that was the only option when United negotiated with Rooney.

The deal is done now. United and their fans should be delighted about it, and all that's left now is to watch whether Rooney can take on the responsibility of being the man who drives his club back up to the heights they've become accustomed to.