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What to make of Wayne Rooney’s transfer request

When Wayne Rooney released a statement last week denying the story that he had changed his Twitter bio to omit “Manchester United player”, you knew he wanted to leave. That week the press had also  reported that Rooney had met with Sir Alex a fortnight ago to tell him he wanted to leave, but Rooney made no comment to deny that.

If confirmation was needed, Rooney’s absence from our match day squad yesterday told you everything you needed to know. He wanted off. At the end of the game, when going to receive his medal, some boos could be heard but they were in a minority compared to the cheers. “Rooney! Rooney!” the Stretford End chanted. The tune to his song was played over the PA system and the stadium joined in singing.

It was a puzzling situation. Whilst I don’t think yesterday was the time or the place for boos, it was odd that people decided to sing his song. “Don’t believe everything you read in the papers” is the common defence I’d seen on here and on Twitter over the past week, but my opinion was more down to the actions of Rooney. If he hadn’t asked to leave, he would have mentioned that, given he had time to update the world about the goings on of his bloody Twitter bio.

When United won the title back in 2009, Ferguson took to the mic as usual to make his end of season speech. However, he cut it short after being drowned out by the Stretford End chanting “Fergie, sign him up!” about Carlos Tevez. A few weeks later he was a Manchester City player and has since held up a “RIP Fergie” sign. The fans who used Fergie’s speech as an opportunity to make a plea on behalf of Tevez probably felt fairly foolish not so long afterwards.

Yesterday, I wondered how long it would take for the fans who were chanting Rooney’s name to feel daft. Not long. As I walked out of the ground I received a text. “Fergie has just confirmed Rooney wants to leave.” What a fucking surprise eh. Didn’t see that one coming.

Ferguson’s comments on Rooney were interesting. “He’s unhappy about being taken off a few times,” he said. “In top form, he wouldn’t be taken off.” Ouch.

Rooney handed in a transfer request two and a half years ago because he was worried about the club’s ability to compete for trophies. In the three seasons since then we’ve won two titles and lost out on one because of goal difference. We’ve signed the likes of Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, who were the best players in their respective leagues the season before we bought them.

Be careful what you wish for, eh Wazza. You see, when he was trying to force a move away from the club because of a lack of quality signings, he hadn’t accounted for the fact we might buy players that would be better than him in his position. Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he was supposed to be the superstar, but now there were other players stealing the limelight.

So now the club have done what he wanted, he wants to leave because he doesn’t get 90 minutes every week. But as Ferguson correctly points out, if Rooney had been playing well, he would have played every game. It doesn’t paint him in the best light, for him to believe he has the God-given right to start every game for Manchester United. Who does he think he is? Well, the answer to that is he thinks he’s a lot better than he actually is.

Still, even after a poor form by his standards, Rooney has contributed well to the team. Twelve players have scored more goals than him in the league but only one player has assisted more. 22 goals and assists means he matches PFA Player of the Year nominee Juan Mata in terms of contribution to his team, and only Van Persie, Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott have more goals/assists than him. If that’s what he can do when he’s not playing well, it bodes well for what he can do when he is.

Which leads us to the next point, with Ferguson also claiming that Rooney is not for sale. The club may have every intention of selling him and, in doing so, freeing up a huge amount of dosh to pay someone who does want to play for United. Fergie can hardly say that though as clubs would come in with lower offers. The likes of PSG and Chelsea need to think we want to keep the player and they’re going to have to really stump up the cash to convince us to part ways with him.

The other alternative is that Fergie is deadly serious and that Rooney will remain a United player. Unlike 2010, we are in the position of power, and he has to do what we say. He has a contract with us and he has little choice but to honour that. If he stays and purposefully doesn’t play well, then he has no hope of attracting a bid from a decent club next summer.

We have been fortunate this season but what if next year Van Persie gets injured? What if Van Persie and Chicharito get injured? Let’s not forget the times when pretty much the whole of our defence has been wiped out, so it’s not unthinkable we could be unlucky enough to pick up several injuries in the same position. We’d be crying out for a player of Rooney’s ability then, even if he wasn’t on top form. Until this season, Rooney was a vital element in making things click on the pitch. Has he lost that ability permanently? Has he just had a bad season? Has he lost it because he’s unhappy at the club? Who knows, but if sold Rooney and were without Van Persie, we’d all be thinking ‘what if..?’.

Still, if Rooney can’t get enough playing time at United, where does he think he will be able to? Does he think the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich or Barcelona are going to play him more than we have? After wasting £30m on Shevchenko and £50m on Torres, both of whom had shown signs of decline before they were bought, will Chelsea step up to the plate? They’d surely be looking at paying at least £30m for him, given that he’s English and they’re a rival club.

Based on his form this year, if Rooney’s motivating factor is playing time, he will have to adjust his expectations and likely not play at one of the elite clubs in Europe. But then he would be sacrificing silverware, which is why he wanted to leave in the first place!

The biggest issue here, for me, is what it will say about us as a club if we beg him to stay again. Everyone makes mistakes and since his U-turn on the last transfer request, Rooney has repeatedly claimed that announcing he wanted to leave was the biggest mistake of his life (and he’s made a few!). Whenever he’s been asked about his future he said that he wants to stay at the club forever and that for as long as United want him he will stay. If that happens now, how are the fans meant to get behind him? Can we be happy if he changes his tune again and signs a new deal? He was largely fogiven by the match-attending fanbase for his behaviour in 2010 but can we really be expected to forgive him again? It’s just all a bit embarrassing for all those concerned. If we offered him a new deal, what exactly is he supposed to say upon signing it? “Oops, I made a mistake again, but this time I really mean it when I say I hope I see out my career here.” It’s become a bit of a joke now.

If a player doesn’t want to be here, they should leave. I’m not entirely sure what it is that Rooney is looking for, but if he can’t find it at Manchester United, he needs to go. If a player needs to be convinced twice in less than three years that United is a good place to be, then they’re probably not the kind of player we want.

So I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that a club, preferably one abroad, makes us an offer we can’t refuse, and that we can then use his transfer fee to buy somebody better. Thanks for the memories Wazza, but now please do one.

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Do we care if Wayne Rooney leaves?

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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136 Comments

  1. Joffrey Baratheon says:

    @Samuel: Rooney has been so average this season and his impact was barely felt. If he had not been on the pitch someone else would have and it wouldn’t have made a difference as we walked the league. You have the cheek to call Baines “One over rated fuck” after the season he has had at Everton, but then you harp on about Rooney’s impact and how our emotions are blinding us. I think it is you who is blind.

  2. slim says:

    World footie is moving at a pace Rooney is struggling to keep up with. How the fuck do get yourself to the point where you ask for a 2nd transfer in what , 2 years at Manchester United.
    Bear in mind this is no squad player. His name rings out at OT every home game.
    Can’t be arsed with this fella. Whatever grievance he had (Half of which is his fault) there’s no need to act out the way he has.
    I think it just hurts some fans that no one’s crying about him.

  3. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Joffrey – any attachment is to the club mainly, i respect the gaffer and all the legends attached to it but we all have different views as to how we support the team, i purely refuse to attach to any modern player, they are what they are in.my view, they are here to improve not only their careers but also bank balance, they have egos and most will get twitchy when things get tough. Of course every player do not share the same characteristics, they all have different personalities but most have huge egos and when situations like ronaldo and rooney occur, you see… Well, i see them for what they truly are. I’m not here to influence fans on how they ditch out their support, stay attached to players if you may but get a grip when they are different to what they proclaim to be.

  4. Jay says:

    I wouldn’t mind Fabregas coming here at all. Barcelona doesn’t exactly bring out the best in players apart from Messi.

  5. Tope99 says:

    If rooney goes there should be no replacement bought.That is kagawa’s position.Our attack may reduce in quality but a really good winger should be bought to keep it up.We where offered nothing from the wingers this season,just imagine if our wingers played how we know them to play.I want Rooney to stay though.And a lot of people just have to admit welbeck was just not up to the standards this season,he should be sent out on loan next season to somewhere he’ll get familiar with scoring again.

  6. NBI Red Onion says:

    Lets face it, which group does Rooney best fit in:

    - Terry, Ashley Cole (his best friend in football), Mikel, or

    - RVP, Giggs, Pea, Rio, Vidic, Evra….

    He fits into the first. They are just like him, he is a JT and a Cole.

  7. NBI Red Onion says:

    And by JT I don’t mean a racist, I mean vulger, cheating, lying, over inflated sense of self, indisciplined but talented. JT and Cole are very good players, but mercenaries. JT flirted with City too remember.

  8. slim says:

    samuel – united WE stand

    Danny’s hatred borders on racism atimes. You can feel the venom every time someone want to put the Chicarito case forward too

  9. samuel - united WE stand says:

    NBI – it would be unrealistic to think or expect players to have undying love for the club, most will respect the club but won’t be attached, it’s up to them regarding their feelings towards united and i won’t hold grudges towards them, all i hope is they give 100% and aspire to be the best. Regarding rooney, i don’t know anything about the lad’s personal life and i’m not interested in it, rooney is a cunt and that’s foemr certain, if he doesn’t love the club but at least he has always given his all on the pitch and aspired to be the best he can be.

  10. Ruks says:

    I love wazza! But he is now fat, down to hs non-athlethic lifestyle.

  11. NBI Red Onion says:

    rooney is not an emotional character – jesus!!! He is a brainless greedy muppet. Everyone is emotional, get the man a bloody shrink, poor thing, millionaire at 17, at a club where his laces are tied for him, food is put on his plate, holidays in barbados, hanging out with celebs, bit of smoke and drink, hard life isn’t it, so emotional, just like those victims of Nazi torture, or women who have been raped, Rooney is a poor thing like them,

  12. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ samuel – going by x players, most love the club – robson, schemeical, becks, brown, o’shea, park….list goes on and on….love united….love love love

  13. NBI Red Onion says:

    Feel the love samuel, open your hear and feel the love love love for united

  14. NBI Red Onion says:

    @ samuel – even that hard bastard keano said it was an honour to play for SAF, Ronnie is still in touch, Rooney adores him, his past players who are managers call him up for advice….love love love SAF, feel the love

  15. red manc says:

    Utd gave him fame, fortune n trophies. He forced us to cough out a massive salary to him n he treats us like shit. Ask players like becks, ruud stil regret living UTD in acrimonious circumstances. No player will ever be bigger than United. Sell him n get ISCO n FELLAINI. He’s an INGRATE.

  16. NBI Red Onion says:

    Poll of fans on the Sun – over 70% say sell Rooney. Who the hell are the 20 odd %.

    SAF saw Rooney decline last season and he showed we don’t need him and he showed why he bought RVP, everyone was crying out for a MF, but SF bought RVP, can you imagine where we would be without him looking at the condition Rooney turned up in barely able to roll over the ball.

  17. NBI Red Onion says:

    The master was right, he lost faith in Rooney and bought RVP when we thought we had too much competition for strikers already, master stroke visionary spot on. All bow to SAF, he was right, as always, he knows when a player is done at United and when they are in decline.

    Does the club wan’t to keep him, Nah. Just being polite to Moyes. Fat boy is gone if there’s a bidder.

    Also, no way Chelsea will pay his wages, he will want to play in Hazard position, he lacks discipline to lead line, want to be a no 10, lets see, as a 9 at Chelsea he could do a job.

    City with all its issues, who wants to play there other than for money. PSG – who? Bayern, Barca, Real, they have better.

  18. Daniel88 says:

    I have been telling you all for months.

    This is a complete summary of Wayne Rooney
    - Massively Overrated
    - Complete Cunt

    I would not have allowed him into OT on Sunday. We will send you your medal out in the mail. Get on the phone to PSG or whoever and get a contract sent over. Bye Wayne. Good Riddance !!!.

    VIVA RONALDO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    VIVA RONALDO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    VIVA RONALDO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Murt 73 says:

    Good article Scott but you don’t know what rooney wants, I dont know what he wants and Roo sure as hell doesn’t know what he wants

  20. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Slim – i won’t sit here and claim rooney is the perfect footballer, his form has been hit and miss for a bit but i don’t look back to the player he was when he broke through, i’ve discussed about what experience and baggage does to footballers. Rooney is no longer the fearless youth with uncontrollable exuberrance, he isn’t as sharp as he once was, probably not as fast, he probably plays more conservative than he previously did in the early stages of his career but what wayne has developed into is a ruthless finisher, he’s scoring goals or creating despite admittedly his touch going to pot, he is still has a presence in the game that not many players have. I agree with you, if he leaves then the club will move on but not until we see guarantee top quality filling that gap. I’m not going to convince anyone that he’s as good as messi or ronaldo, he’s below that bracket of talent and impact these great players produce but can we stop denying his quality regardless of his current form, he hasn’t become a pub player over-night has he? He’s got the ability to improve, whether that will be seen at united or not is for anyone to guess.

  21. wazzer says:

    u know i really dont give a s*** no more

  22. wazzer says:

    he just can take it cause hes not our main striker no more

  23. King Eric says:

    Daniel. To be fair pal your grievance with Rooney has beared fruit.

  24. Denise Williams says:

    What really angered me with this is what SAF said about Rooney not wanting to play. I cannot accept any player not wanting to play. When that player is on as high a wage as he is then it is absolutely appalling. To me it demonstrates a very poor and unprofessional attitude. I think of players who are desparate to play but cannot through no fault of their own yet here he is not wanting to play. Personally I think he has had his nose put out of joint by the performances of RVP and cannot accept playing second fiddle. Well big deal wayne get over it and improve your performances and particularly your attitude.

  25. Jorge Curioso says:

    >> Rooney, loves himself. Not even his wife really. Himself.

    Bingo. Buh bye, Rooney, thanks for the goals.

  26. Jorge Curioso says:

    BTW, now watching Zaha destroy BHA in the playoff. Positively Bale-like.

  27. marshlr says:

    Grew up in Manchester area supporting the Busby Babes wsith my Dad. Always liked Rooney work rate and skill. But drinking and smoking has slowed him down. When I visit Manchester now i meet a lot of people who think he is overpaid and overweight. Sad to see him go but maybe it’s the right time. But thanks to SAF for all the memories!

  28. motgp says:

    Actually if Rooney wants to leave there are plenty of “bigger” clubs that are lacking a forward, so to your question about where he will find playing time there are quite a few clubs out there. Barcelona have a serious shortage of strikers, with Villa looking like a shadow of his former sharp self and besides Messi they haven’t got anyone else. Bayern are excelling because of their attacking midfield, personally I rate Rooney higher than Gomez and Mandzukic. Same with Real Madrid, they crashed out against Dortmund because again, their pure strikers, especially Higuain, are not firing at the moment. And don’t get me started with Chelsea… they will definitely (Mourinho?) look for an improvement and currently, the only striker who is willing to leave (?) his club who would be an upgrade to Rooney is prob Falcao in terms of fox in the box. Overall there’s a shortage of good pure strikers in the market at the moment, so we’re really lucky to have Robin, Rooney Welbeck and Hernandez.

  29. NBI Red Onion says:

    Well then Rooney better learn English before he goes off.

  30. Jixie says:

    This is a hard one. It is clear Roo is affected by not being the main man any more. This is normal human nature. RVP seems to try hard to make Roo realise how important he is and I for one respect him for that (always gives Roo a special hug or press mention). If Roo can get over this he can still be the great great player he should be. However if he leaves MUFC, in all likelihood he will never reach those great heights. I wish the lad luck and hope he does the right thing.

  31. busby says:

    Jixie, how can Rooney expect to be the main man when he cant maintain his physique, is constantly out of form and is so sloppy in posession the reality is that he does not deliver with the amount of consistency that his salary demands. It is no ones god given right to be the main man, he has to earn it. If modest talents like danny welbeck are preferred to him should it should serve as a massive wakeup call. Sadly he is just an entitled little brat who has lost his desire.

  32. Dave Mack says:

    Rooney needs a fresh start. Moyes will give him that. He’ll rediscover what he loved about football as a 16 y.o. and Untied will retain a truly world class talent. Why would any United supporter not want that? (Fergie’s just teeing Moyes up to be the saviour. Final act of Genius!)

  33. Markowire says:

    Moyes should fight to keep him. Moyes knows Rooney better than any other manager. He could be the man to return that fire he had at Everton when he was young. If you combine that with the player Fergie has turned him into he could take his game to a whole new Level.. He could become a true united legend. Us fans believe in him, he just needs to believe in himself. No player has left United and become a better player. I would say Ronaldo has kept up his consistency at Real but the lad misses his true home and we can all see it. Rooney needs to fall in love with the club as Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Cantona and our great Sir Alex Ferguson did. They are true legends of United that will never ever be forgotten. We’ve all seen what Rooney can do and it’s special but there too much inconsistency in his game. Moyes knows how to play Rooney. If they can both sit down and sort there shit out then Rooney could be a different and more consistent player next season and help United carry on there traditional winning ways.

  34. NBI Red Onion says:

    Yeah Moyes knows he’s a lying slanderer who called him overbearing and controlling in his autobiography.

  35. Shonaigh says:

    Very good post the original article, as are the follow up comments. I never want to see him play for United again. Just don’t see how there is a way back after this for him at the club and don’t think he deserves to be given one. In 2010 it was such a shock particularly the way he and his agent handled things, it was ridiculous and he was very lucky the club bent over backwards to accommodate him. Not for the first time either, he has always been very well supported by the club no matter what he has done on or off the pitch. It left a bad taste in my mouth the whole incident and have been totally ambivalent towards him since. Pure greed and with specific clauses in his contract that he always be the highest player. It was also the insult to his team-mates and letting down of club itself. It may be naïve of me as it is a job to them. However his performances on the pitch have not backed up why he is the clubs highest earner. This latest episodes timing was just grand, Fergie has handled it well I think- kind of been made an example of has Rooney.

    He got all that he wanted, has more money he could ever need and here we are he is wanting out. I don’t actually blame him for wanting to leave the club, can’t expect loyalty from all. Perfectly acceptable for him to leave, he aint a local lad and has won everything (well almost..) with United. His attitude has been totally off this season and his performances have often not been good enough and effort hasn‘t been there. Can sympathise only slightly that he has been played out of position. However, wasn’t he the one that wanted better players? His reasons for wanting to leave seem really feeble to me. Like he can’t take responsibility for himself. He is unhappy with being subbed and missing out on a big game, well as Ferguson said if he was playing well enough he would have played no question. He isn’t so special that he be immune from being brought off if he is playing crap. Clear as day this season something hasn’t been right with him and for both parties a move for him is the best. Perhaps it will rejuvenate him and get him back to his best. Don’t really care though. For United it will help clear some space on the wage bill and will send out the right message- no player is bigger than the club. The events over the last few days have had me in awe, it has been emotional! For the life of me cannot see why any player would want to leave United.

  36. John Sekar says:

    Basically uve spoken the truth about Rooney.
    Great player but one fact remains and every player needs to get,

    There is no player greater than our club. And us as fans will always
    Be loyal to our club. So either show u wanna stay and toe the line
    Or piss off.

    Thats about it.

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