Club Focus - Manchester United - Nothing put to bed as Rooney row rumbles on
The future of Wayne Rooney is no clearer this evening, despite a number of high ranking meetings taking place today between the clubs top brass and the player’s advisers.
Speaking to the media after last night’s Champions League win over Bursaspor, Sir Alex Ferguson claimed he sought the meeting with Chief Executive David Gill to 'put the matter to bed”after Rooney had earlier that evening released a statement questioning the clubs ambition. Given the timing and wording of Rooney’s remarks, it was expected that the meeting would signal the end of the striker’s United career, with Ferguson and Gill outlining plans on what terms they wished to conclude his departure. However, yet another statement has been released from the club, with very little appearing to be ‘put to bed.’ The statement read:
‘We are aware that there is intense public and media interest on the club at the moment, but there are no developments of note to report today. I can confirm a number of meetings have taken place today, including with the player's representative. The outcome of those meetings will become clear in the near future. In the meantime, fans are asked to be patient.’
This non-committal release only further shrouds the saga in mystery, as to all intents and purposes it appeared Ferguson and Gill would simply put the finishing touches to Rooney’s six year stay with the Reds. Given that Ferguson has a side to prepare for Sunday’s trip to Stoke, the issue is now likely to rumble on into next week, giving scope for stories and speculation to wildly blossom. Already there have been suggestions that the involvement of Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford and the fact a ‘number’ of meetings took place, with ‘no developments of note’ to be reported, has led to murmurings that a reconcile could be orchestrated.
That would represent a seismic shift on Rooney’s behalf, and one that seemed inconceivable 24 hours ago. Indeed, it appeared Ferguson himself was at the end of his tether with his star-man and was prepared to let him go. Having already accused Rooney of showing a lack of respect towards the club, he appeared let down and frustrated by the actions of his protégé at last nights press conference, and hinted he was prepared to write the matter off.
Situations with star players like this are par for the course for Ferguson, and if there is one thing he would have learnt after 24 years as manager of Manchester United, it is not to make key decisions in the heat of the moment. After a ponder over a scotch and a good nights sleep, this morning a more mellow Scot may have approached Carrington in less remorseless mode, realising Rooney is vital to Manchester United, and Manchester United is vital to Rooney, and severance is best for neither party. This prospect must have dawned on team Rooney at some point too, and could go someway to explaining the involvement of Rooney’s people in a club matter.
This, unfortunately though is the unclarified and unqualified version of events which offer a glimmer of hope to United fans that their talisman might stay. Of course, the more cynical view is that Stretford’s presence could have been to oversee any legal wranglings or tie up any financial obligations Manchester United have to his man. The simple fact is at the moment, nobody knows, and although things will be cleared up ‘in the near future,’ until then it is guess work.