Rooney wants to leave United

Ferguson says Rooney wants to leave United - -
Wayne Rooney's desire to walk out on Manchester United has left the Premier League club facing the loss of a third world-class attacker in two years and its bewildered manager Alex Ferguson in a state of shock.

Ferguson said he was "dumbfounded'' at Rooney's decision not to enter into negotiations about extending his contract beyond the summer of 2012.

"We just don't know what's changed the boy's mind... I was shocked,'' said Ferguson. "I had a meeting with the boy and he reiterated what his agent had said. He wanted to go.'"
There's so much to this story that is being parsed elsewhere, so I'll try to take a fantasy manager's approach to this first.

In the immediate-term, will Rooney play (and start) for United if/when healthy? I feel like I should have an informed opinion, but all I have is a gut that says no. It's hard to imagine his "rotting" on the bench or training with the youth team, but I wouldn't put it past Ferguson after today's press conference performance. Seemingly the ball is in Rooney's court and until he makes the next move he'll be persona-non-grata at the club.

So how do ManU line up in the mean time, and how do they fare? They might go 4-4-2 with Berbatov and Hernandez up front and Nani on the right wing. The problem with this is the lack of options for the other flank. ManU have a surfeit of central middies (I've leave questions of their quality to Neal) but their options on the left wing with Giggs limited or injured, as is Park, are Obertan and Bebe. Neither seem likely candidates for an extended run in the first team.

Another option might be a modified 4-3-3, which would be an unbalanced 4-3-1-2. Nani would be given a role to the right and behind the front two while still retaining three central midfielders. Say Fletcher and two from Scholes/Anderson/Carrick. What they would lack in quality, perhaps they could compensate for in numbers.

That would leave the team's width dependent on their fullbacks which would likely see Evra and Rafael as first choice. O'Shea has been the regular starter this year, but Rafael's more attacking orientation may give him the nod going forward.

Of the players listed above, Nani is the one to have. However, he's already priced for his perfomances to date so you'll likely have to drop a Bale or a Malouda if you want to pick him up now. Rafael (7.03) and Hernandez (7.06) look like good value picks, but of course they are more risky due to the fact that I probably don't know what I'm talking about and SAF sees his starting XI completely differently.

This is a huge distraction for the club, and as we've seen with Liverpool over the last few weeks, that can take a real toll on a team's peformance on the pitch. Surely Stoke are relishing the weekend's visit and the chance to knock an already reeling club off their stride even more. As hard as it is to pass up an opportunity to add players from one of the big clubs - say Carroll to Hernandez - fantasy managers would be advised to take a wait-and-see approach to United players for the time being.

Now, as for where Rooney ends up... I think in the end he'll stay at United.  This is going to be ugly and public, but it will end.  I think a healthy and motivated Rooney is worth more to United than they could get for him in the transfer market.  And who buys him?  There's aren't that many clubs in the world that could afford him, and those that could don't really need him.  Does he want to go to Citeh and be Tevez's understudy?  The role reversal from their time at United is intriguing, but surely not likely.  He could have a role with Chelsea - I think he walks into that side, sorry Nik - but does Roman pull out the checkbook for Rooney?  More importantly, do United want to make a deal with the current champions?  The clubs of note in Spain or Italy are flush with attacking talent themselves.  Real can't field all of Ronaldo, Higuain, Kaka, Benzema, Huntleaar, Ozil, etc.  The Milan clubs have Eto'o, Sneijder, Ibra, Robinho, Ronaldinho, Seedorf, Pato, etc.  And frankly I just don't see Rooney as a part of Barcelona.  There are Russian clubs with money, but frankly I can't see Rooney and his marketing machine moving that far East.

Real Madrid are interesting though.  They have a history taking on Englishmen and have enough pieces - Benzema, Diarra - to put together a deal that would intrigue United.  But does Mourinho need Rooney and the headaches that accompany him?  I see him as being strong enough (and smart enough) to say "no" where previous Madrid regimes would have stepped in.

But how about Atletico?  They have a good history with United's cast-off strikers *cough*Forlan*cough* and have a valuable trade asset in Sergio Aguero.  Maybe that swap makes everyone happy... for now.


  1. To what extent does the UEFA debt/spending rules narrow the options?


  3. Birty3:52 PM

    My money's on him ending up a team that has Nike as the kit manufacturer. Which narrows it slightly, so mainly Inter or Barca or possibly but unlikely Arsenal.

    City would have to drive a truck full of money up to the door of Old Trafford for Fergie to allow him to go there but since the Glazer's took over United are a selling club and need to clear some of that £700 million debt.

  4. Anonymous6:07 PM

    Hey Jeremy,
    I could be wrong, but i thought Huntleaar plays in Germany for Schalke, not Real Madrid


  5. Thanks, Chi. I thought that might be the case as I was writing this. I'll fix the post.

  6. Doctor Teeth6:36 PM

    Rooney can walk away from the final year of his contract next summer by paying a fee of approximately 5 million pounds...this is under the Webster Ruling (under 28 years old and has been with his team for at least three years). As such, United will be able to recoup ZERO (aside from that break-up fee) if he departs next summer. Unbelievable....that's a loss of 50-60 million pounds for a team that could REALLY use the cash. Accordingly, I see him leaving in the January transfer window so that United at least get something back for the player.

  7. Kellz9:01 PM

    Two main thoughts:

    (1) Could this be the most elaborate and integrated Fergie Mind Game that has ever faced the Premier League? If so we are all truly pawns in the hands of the puppet master, but I kid, I kid.

    (2) Something that would never happen, but the only team that could really use Rooney is Everton. Think about if Rooney took a huge wage decrease and used the Webster ruling to buy out the last year of his contract, I am sure Everton could find the funds in the old bank vault for a 5mil transfer. Everton have no fit, reliable stikers at the moment, and if Rooney wanted a real challenge he'd make the switch, which Fergie would allow since its not to another title contender.

    These are just little things that flashed through my mind as I executed another tedious and boring work day.

    Where do I really think he will end up? I feel some sort of swap deal with Real Madrid is the most likely IF Utd can't persuade Rooney to stay. But if they do sell the deals already being worked on now to finish in the Jan transfer window.

  8. we are all sinking in this manure. fergie and his incredibly graceful treatment of players bigger than him, players becoming recalcitrant under fergie's firm watch, and a team sinking oh so fast.

  9. Anonymous9:34 PM

    I'm enjoying all this conjecture....

    Athletico Madrid in a trade with Aguero? Smashing concept.... No Champions League football.

    Back home to Everton? Even better.... How great would that be? No Champions League football.

    How about Tottenham? O'Hara, Keane and 20-25M quid. Dark horses.

  10. Anonymous3:20 AM

    And the EPL 2010-11 goes to CHELSEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !
    I dont see anyone stopping us for the 2nd in a row.


  11. maxx~3:28 AM

    it would be a nightmare for Man Utd. I believed that Ronaldo would leave Utd at the day they won CL Final but about Rooney, lol, never have that thought across my mind...

  12. richard_pitts_20004:47 PM

    Man United's biggest problem right now is squandering leads, something they never used to do. That is more about defence and midfield rather than attack and I think they should sell Rooney and try and rebuild their squad. I don't imagine Harry would sell them Gareth Bale, buta player like that imo would be far better than keeping Rooney.

    Coleen has also said she doesn't want to leave England according to the wag mags in the UK.