Over the last week, there have been a few scathing reports on the transfer of Wayne Rooney. This season has been a tough one for the 31-year old. He has not faced such a slump in his career. He was a regular in David Moyes’ Everton side all those years ago in 2002. He also turned the head of a certain Arsene Wenger to such an extent that the Frenchman moved mountains to secure his signature. However, this regularity in the starting XI has come down to such an extent that he now finds himself warming the benches beside the coaching entourage of Jose Mourinho.
In his autobiography, Sir Alex had dedicated the better part of an entire chapter of Rooney. What catches the eye in that case is certainly the initial meeting. As a Liverpool-born lad, it was a crazy notion for those close to him that he’d one day be donning the shirt of the sworn enemy. Ferguson’s eye for young talent had seemingly put Rooney in a bit of a spotlight. The former United manager also went on with a bit of exaggeration in the manner in which Rooney was signed.
By Fergie’s standards, it was pretty big bucks that was being shelled out, especially for someone of Rooney’s age. Of course, as the boss had been advised, it was one of those things. Perhaps he could follow in the fine traditions laid down by the likes of Brian McClair, Andy Cole, and Eric Cantona, something he would eclipse in the near future.
Given the manner in which the club’s reputation in both the league and Europe has nosedived quite significantly in the last couple of years, the manner in which Rooney has carried himself has been something far more than just commendable. He has been linked away from Old Trafford in the past, but this time around, a transfer seems all but certain. Not many in most clubs are able to survive the managerial merry-go-round. Perhaps, some find it harder in the bigger clubs as well. However, Wayne Rooney’s ideals and ethic to stay at the club would exhibit his loyalty whilst also showcasing an uncanny interest towards captaining one of the world’s biggest clubs.
However, despite all of this, things have been very different under Jose Mourinho. Of course, Mourinho’s predecessor had seemingly converted the United skipper to somewhat of a central midfielder. But, after their FA Cup trophy exchange in a grocery store (as some prominent news outlets would report), the Mancunian skipper once again found himself playing in his preferred position. Yet, under the Mourinho regime, things have not been looking upwards for the talisman so to speak.
Each time Jose Mourinho joins a new club, he strengthens certain areas by signing a few players. On his return to Stamford Bridge, Kurt Zouma, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, and Diego Costa were among the major signings. It would reflect the same when he lit up Old Trafford with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, massive names in the world. All of this leaves a certain Manchester United skipper in uncharted waters.
Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Rooney’s numbers have fallen quite badly. Of course, Louis van Gaal had played Rooney as the central striker on plenty of occasions, but the manner in which he is being frozen out of Mourinho’s side is evidence of his failing abilities. The longevity is something that is also fading away. The 31-year old still has a lot of value to provide to the club in terms of being one of the longest serving players, but with the chances not coming his way, there is a massive chance of a transfer. Possibly even the cash-rich China.
The rumors even tread into Ronald Koeman’s Everton. The Dutchman has a way around the older players. While Rooney’s pace might have slowed down, his intelligence remains. Van Gaal played him in the heart of midfield, and his performance in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace was evidence of the same. Koeman, as many suggest, certainly knows his way around handling older players. He has brought the best out of the likes of Jose Fonte in Southampton and now even Gareth Barry and perhaps even Ashley Williams.
As things stand, there are a few options the England skipper can perhaps venture into. One would be the aforementioned one wherein he chooses to take the contract and make it back to Coxreth. It would be a highly unpopular decision on the man who has 250 goals to his name scored in Mancunian red. Don Hutchinson and Alan Shearer have been beneficiaries of the whole ‘going back home’ contracts wherein they signed contracts for both West Ham United and Newcastle United respectively. It would also be a sense of satisfaction for the England skipper as he could stay in England as well.
The second would be the multi-million pound move to a multi-million-pound league in China. It would seem as though the Chinese have found a way to attract a few big names from South America, but landing Wayne Rooney would certainly be the icing on top of a well-baked cake. Of course, there would be the odd issue in moving elsewhere, but the money is a massive incentive. A similar case would be a move to the MLS in the United States as well.
The third option would be to stay put in Manchester. He might have had his differences in the past with Sir Alex, and he would have also handed in a transfer. He might have even been wooed away with the managerial merry-go-round being inclusive of Manchester United as well. But, it would be a massively selfless act should he choose to stay put despite the rumors making the rounds. And there’s more. He just moved past Bobby Charlton’s record against Stoke, something that would have stood the test of time if not for Rooney.
Whatever he chooses to do, it would be massively respected, but think of this while the cries for ‘Rooney out’ makes the rounds. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the only player in Manchester Red with goals that tread into double digits. Should the 31-year old move on, where would the goals come from? Sure, Mourinho might very well sign Antoine Griezmann or someone else of the similar caliber, but would he be as talismatic as Rooney? In a nutshell, these are certainly interesting times for a club many once called an institution for football in the last quarter of a century.