Wayne Rooney, the poster boy of English football, the talisman of Manchester United, is now at war with the club for whom he had declared his unwavering loyalty less than a year ago. "I want to play at United for life like Ryan Giggs," were the words Rooney used to emphasize his love for the club.
Fast forward a few months. Rooney refuses to sign a new contract and is apparently not on talking terms with the manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. With eighteen months to go on his current contract and the threat of the Webster ruling being invoked by Rooney in the summer transfer window, United are now in a spot of whether to try to re-conciliate their star forward or to sell him in January for what he is worth, an estimated £50 million.
But why did the situation deteriorate to such a level? Rooney has apparently given reasons such as a lack of ambition at the club, no world-class signings, and of course, the much publicised breakdown of his relationship with Sir Alex, when he contradicted his manager in public by saying that his ankle is fine and he does not know why he was not played all this time.
This, when he was pictured coming out of a hospital with a scan on the same ankle and was seen with an ice-pack after being substituted in a match two weeks before the international break.
Yes, most United fans will agree with Rooney when he says that the club lacks ambition and there are no world-class signings coming through, but is that the complete truth? Is it about the club's ambition, or is it about Rooney's financial ambition?
Most papers agree on the fact that Rooney would be open to a move across Manchester to Manchester City, who would happily make him the highest paid footballer in the UK, just to rub United's noses in. As they say, there is no smoke without fire. This report would not be universally accepted if there was not an element of truth behind it.
But even if we put our faith in Rooney and agree with his grievance that the club is not signing A-level players, should we, as fans, remove our trust in the man who has done everything he could to make Manchester United the global powerhouse it is today? Even in the twilight of his career, misjudging Sir Alex, the man Rooney is at loggerheads with, would be a grave mistake.
I will not disagree when it is said that Sir Alex's current coaching setup is flawed, since it reflects in the way the team has been playing, which is downright awful. Especially since Mike Phelan became the first team coach, the team's play has digressed significantly. But that does not mean that the players at the club are all bad, nor does it mean that the youth players coming through are not talented enough.
While United may not have a £165 million to spend on players, I do think that should Sir Alex want, at least half that amount can be easily sanctioned for signings. But it is also about signing the players who will fit in, or who won't hamper the careers of the youth coming through the ranks.
We might see a Real Madrid-esque spending this summer to replace the golden generation of Giggs, Scholes, Neville, and van der Sar, or maybe we won't.
Most United fans have complete faith in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, and he is the current United Reserves coach.
If he says that Magnus Eikrem is an amazing talent, or when he outlines the qualities of Joshua King or Oliver Norwood, we should trust his judgement, since he knows a thing or two about world class talents, considering that he played in a side that was full of them. He is also the man Sir Alex trusts to nurture the next generation of United stars.
It is because of players such as these that United are perhaps not signing the big players. Perhaps Sir Alex believes that Tom Cleverley and Magnus Eikrem can replace Giggs and Scholes adequately, that Rafael da Silva and Chris Smalling can take over from Neville and Rio Ferdinand, and that Paul Pogba and Corry Evans can be who Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick could never completely become for United.
Perhaps it is a measure of the faith that Sir Alex and Ole Solksjaer have in Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez that Wayne Rooney might just be sold to Manchester City and United would not suffer too much from his loss.
Of course, the Red Devils have Dimitar Berbatov to lead the line as the main forward, if and when Rooney leaves. A situation akin to when Berbatov was at Tottenham, and which would no doubt help him thrive and become the new United talisman, a vindication of Sir Alex's unwavering faith in a player he felt was best suited for United.
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