My esteemed colleague Mr Farqhuar has already discussed the potential financial implications in Wayne Rooney‘s refusal to sign a new contract with Manchester United but it falls to me to consider his potential destination. Why? No-one else will. That aside, of course, I have the inside track on Mr Rooney’s thoughts as he regularly texts me asking for financial advice. Man Utd fans can begin to blame me now.
Let’s not forget that Rooney is a young player (25 next week) and has been at United for six years, while it may seem like he’s been around forever he’s now just beginning to approach the pinnacle of his career and will no doubt hope that any move he makes will take him somewhere that will see his ability suitably rewarded.
Of course this is where the question of Manchester City comes in. Like them or not, they have more than enough money to pick up Rooney like he’s a pound coin that they’ve accidentally dropped in the gutter. Even then you have to wonder what they’ll do to top this. Perhaps they’ll carve Wayne Rooney’s face onto the surface of the moon with a radioactive “laser” beam with the words “F**K YOU UNITED” etched above. Who knows?
However, my impression of the Rooney situation is that his wish to leave United is due in no small part to his (and pretty much every other footballer’s) treatment by the UK media. Let us not forget that Rooney yo-yos up and down in the opinion of the press being worshipped and vilified in equal measure, purely depending on the week.
The confidence knock that he has taken in the wake of the allegations about his apparent love of prostitutes is clear for all to see and he must feel as though he is being hounded to the end of the earth. Of course, he is. He’s a celebrity and footballers in this country are the new film stars, primarily because they are seen by the media as infinitely more fallible and less able to look after themselves once they being pursued down the proverbial road by the proverbial media tornado. The media hyenas have their teeth into a big juicy chunk of story-meat and they’re not going to let go.
Whether you believe that Rooney truly wants to leave or was just trying to bargain for a little bit more money in his contract, you surely must now feel that it’s inevitable that he’ll go. Will he move across the city to the Blues or will he go further afield?
Rooney’s been quoted numerous times saying that he has no desire to play outside England but this was at a time when he was lauded to the point of brown-nosery in the press and could do no wrong. Now, having lost form and the favour of the carrion media in this country he must be feeling that the time is right to move away.
If that’s the case, where will he go? To Real Madrid where he will feel at home playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and myriad other former Premier League players who now ply their trade in the Spanish capital or to their fierce rivals Barcelona, a team whose free-flowing attacking football catalysed by the formidable trio of Xavi, Andres Iniesta & Lionel Messi will surely appeal to the United striker.
Either side will be able to pay him at least more than the £150,000 that Man United were reportedly offering and both will be in a position to shelter him from the media. You see, in Spain the media system is a little different. There are genuine ‘sports newspapers’ which deal with the sporting (and more often footballing) issues of the day and the private lives of the players are kept as far away from the newspapers as is humanly possible. Naturally, that’s not to say that stories don’t get in there but there are far less tabloid-driven stories that can end in players having to move club or result in a dip in form.
Couple that with Jose Mourinho’s tongue-in-cheek comments on Sky’s Champions League coverage last night and you have a transfer story that might well have legs. And feet. And most other body parts.
Long and short of it is that if it is Wayne Rooney’s intention to escape the glare of the paparazzi’s lenses then there is only one place to go. Neptune. Short of that, however, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the white of Los Merengues by the time February rolls around. Will a move like this help him return to form? Only time will tell.