Wayne Rooney is reportedly done with Manchester United and is seeking to transfer to another club this summer Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed Tuesday. United could be looking to sell the striker in January to try and get top value for the fan favorite Rooney, who has come to many recent disagreements with the United manager.
Sir Alex Ferguson and the late George Steinbrenner have this in common: They were both referred to as "the Boss," Fergie for Manchester United, and Steinbrenner for the Yankees. When it came to matters about these two teams there was no doubt who was in charge. Disagree with how they wanted to run things, and you were sent out of town.
There is a long list of star players who have had disagreements with the Manchester United boss, and just when they think they are untouchable, they are shipped off. Some of them are little arguments that no one knows about, others become full blown escalations such as the famous story of Sir Alex kicking a boot at David Beckham during halftime of a match.
Either way, the story always ends the same, the star player is sold, and United move on.
Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in English Premier League History. He has won the league 11 times out of the leagues 18 seasons. He has won the European Champions League twice, the UEFA Cup Winners Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup. Domestically he has also won the League Cup four times, and the FA Cup five times with United.
Throughout the entire run, Fergie has had to jettison star players and re-build the team. He has had a lot of success doing that—and you can't argue with success. This has led to the "my way or the high way" attitude around Old Trafford, allowing Fergie to be very stubborn when dealing with star players.
Unfortunately age is starting to creep up on Sir Alex Ferguson. Along with old age comes old man stubbornness—there's just no way around it. Old men like to do what they have always done and stick to what they know best.
The problem is, the times have changed, and while Fergie has gotten away with being stubborn in the past, the Rooney situation is completely different.
Forget about Cristiano Ronaldo, he wanted to leave not because of a disagreement, but because playing for Real Madrid was his childhood dream.
It has been about five years since Fergie last exiled a star. Striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy was sent to Real Madrid before the 2006 season. Three years prior, it was David Beckham who was sent towards Real Madrid. With Beckham, United had just won the title and were now re-building. With Van Nistelrooy the re-building was complete, and without him United could unleash their new young talent.
When Nistelrooy was sold, United had young guns Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney ready to take over the club and take the world by storm. They did exactly that, leading United to three straight Premier League titles and back-to-back Champions League finals appearances.
The times are different now though. This time United doesn't have anyone waiting in the wings. The young players have proven capable of performing at a high level week in and week out...so far. The rest of the team is the same team that it was when Nistelrooy left. This is a problem because that simply means everybody is five years older; most of them are now too old to handle a full Premier League season.
The biggest problem is that this is the first time Fergie has had to deal with a star disagreeing with him during the Glazer era. That means this is the first time United don't have the money to replace the star player. United received 80 million pounds for Ronaldo, where has that money gone? Surely it hasn't gone back into the team.
United are in massive debt. Yes, some of the money they get from Rooney will go to bringing in another player. But player values today are highly inflated and United will not be able to afford a top quality, Wayne Rooney-equivalent player. The money will go toward re-paying the debt.
Manchester United have no new players waiting in the wings ready to carry the torch left by Rooney. This will lead to less wins, which will lead to less people paying to see the games at Old Trafford, leading to less money and more debt. Selling Rooney would absolutely cripple the club financially.
It is a different world today then it was five years ago. Sir Alex Ferguson can no longer afford to be as stubborn as he once was. This time, if United have any hope, Fergie will have to swallow his pride, have a sit down talk with Rooney, and let the men try and work out their differences.