A story that has very much been framed in the context of a break down in relations between player and manager might just be missing the point. Although Wayne Rooney’s public contradiction of Sir Alex Ferguson was always going to anger the old disciplinarian and risk leading to an irrevocable working relationship with his manager, perhaps this is convenient for a player who thinks his best chance of winning silverware is playing for another club.
Manchester United may now be a great power in irreversible decline. A steady exodus of their star players seems well underway, with the suggestion that Rooney and maybe even Nemanja Vidic could follow Carlos Tevez and Christiano Ronaldo out of Old Trafford. The club are crippled by debt, and simply do not have the financial clout to adequately replace these star names.
Compounding this is the imminent retirement of two ‘irreplaceables’ in Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. Rio Ferdinand is no spring chicken either. An overhaul of the team is required and without a billionaire backer with hundreds of millions to burn, Ferguson’s record at getting value for money out of his transfers is, to say the least, questionable. On the pitch, United’s performances this season are indicative of a club in decline. The early signs are that they may even struggle to qualify for next season’s Champion’s League and soon they might not even be top dogs in their own city.
So what next for Rooney then? There are realistically only four clubs who could probably meet United’s asking price for their star player. The favourites are Real Madrid, but they have seemingly ruled themselves out of a January move. Barcelona are rumoured to be interested but may not meet the asking price. Chelsea have the financial clout, but have been reluctant to splash out big money in recent times in their search for financial sustainability. United fans presumably hope then, that Sheikh Mansour is not watching the news at the moment.