The media has created a firestorm over Wayne Rooney contradicting Sir Alex Ferguson’s statement that the Red Devils star striker’s lack of playing time is due to an ankle injury. While away on international duty Rooney was prompted about how his ankle felt during an interview, to which he stated it was fine and he had no ankle injury. When questioned further on why his clubs manager said he had such an injury Rooney laughed before answering, “I don’t know.”
The twenty-four year old striker is the poster child of England. After a dismal performance at the World Cup, Rooney has struggled to find his form during this campaign. With the likes of young gun Federico Macheda establishing himself in the first team, Dimitar Berbatov finally finding the form Fergie shelled out £30.75 million to acquire from Tottenham, back in 2008, new boy Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez wasting no time adapting in to the English game and seasoned veteran and off-the-bench threat Michael Owen all battling for the same spots, Sir Alex has shown that he doesn’t feel pressured in playing his big name English bulldog, Rooney, over his cusp players.
Former United teammate, Cristiano Ronaldo, had made statements over the summer saying he would love to reunite with his former United teammate, Rooney, at Santiago Bernabeu. After similar hype to the current media craze, Rooney answered the allegations with a simple question: “Can you see me playing abroad?”
With no pun on his statement, in regards to the scandals that put him on the front pages of all the tabloids at the beginning of the season, Manchester United’s number ten has already proven he holds no allegiance. After scoring in an FA Youth Cup match, Rooney lifted his jersey, revealing a t-shirt, which read, “Once a Blue, always a Blue.” Three years later he was out of Goodison and in the Theater of Dreams for a fee of £25.6 million, the highest fee paid at the time for a an under-twenty player.
Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrid have already expressed interest in Rooney, though Jose Mourinho has already quelled the speculations by predicting that Rooney will stay at Old Trafford. Defending European Champs, Inter Milan, can’t be ruled out. Though a switch to either Serie A or La Liga would involve Wayne having to learn a new language, something hard for most people to picture the man said to have a mouth so fowl he could make a sailor blush.
If Wayne is in fact set on staying in the Premiere League, just not with United, what options has he left himself? He’s seemingly burned the Everton bridge with his exit back in 2004 and after talks of trying to sign Landon Donovan were put to rest by realizing they had the lack of funds, they certainly wouldn’t be able to pay Wayne’s fees either.
Under new ownership, Liverpool will be looking to save their season from relegation and find a worthy strike partner to pair Fernando Torres. Though Torres has been struggling to get fit for the better part of a year, Rooney would certainly add depth to their attack and pair him alongside other England teammates Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson. It would also be the ultimate slap in the face to both Everton and Manchester United supporters as both clubs share a bitter rivalry with the Anfield inhabitants.
Though neither Merseyside club will offer any immediate hopes of earning silverware, Rooney would most certainly only accept a transfer to a title-contending club. His powerful and aggressive style doesn’t mesh well with Arsene Wenger’s beautiful game, and the French manager has a track record of being rather stingy when it comes to the transfer market. Often selling players when they’re at peak value, while purchasing and developing untested youngsters through the ranks of the Gunners system as their replacements.
The only real options that would leave Rooney with are cross-town rivals, City, Chelsea and possibly Tottenham. City clearly have the funds to spend on him and a move across town would not only allow him to stay settled in his current home, but partner him alongside former teammate Carlos Tevez and several national teammates like Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, Wayne Bridge, Joleon Lescott, James Milner, Adam Johnson and Shaun WrightPhillips.
Leading the league with twenty-three goals scored already, Chelsea don't appear to need any more strike power. Though exceedingly wealthy check signer, Roman Abramovich, was reportedly
chasing Fernando Torres all over South Africa this summer keen to put ink to paper and making it clear that the title-holding blue's are looking to sign another proven striker. Torres, battling to come back from knee surgery in time for the Cup, gambled and made the decision to hold out until the tournament was over before he made any decision on where he would be playing club ball this season. His lackluster performance was overshadowed by the in-form David Villa and his Cup run came to an end with a pulled hamstring, after subbing in during the final against the Netherlands and ultimately losing the interest of Abramovich.
In their first ever Champions League campaign, Tottenham may look to add more strike power to their offense. Taking in to extra consideration the success Fabio Capello had when pairing Defore and Rooney together in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria. Rooney could also be an immediate replacement for Defoe as he comes back from his own ankle injury and surgery and may struggle to find his form. That is, if Rooney truly is fit and not currently carrying an injury.
Known for his complicated and conniving mind games, one must often read between the lines with Sir Alex. Perhaps we will get a better idea of how much truth lies behind Rooney’s exit speculation tomorrow when the lineup for Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Bursaspor is released. If he’s starting, don’t believe the hype. If he’s omitted from the line-up, perhaps there’s truth to the rumors and there truly has been a falling out between Fergie and the striker who scored thirty-four goals for him last season.