Man Utd Focus – Crunch time for Rooney’s Old Trafford career

The future of Wayne Rooney is the subject of intense speculation after the forward was left out of the Manchester United team that faced Real Madrid on Tuesday. With just over two years left on his contract at Old Trafford, and the club unlikely to allow it to enter its final year, it is crunch time for Rooney.

There have been reports of a tense relationship between the player and Sir Alex Ferguson, now denied by the manager, which was dealt an almighty blow in October 2010 when the Englishman handed in a transfer request. Rooney himself admitted that saga was the biggest mistake of his career, and stated again in August last year that he was “here to stay“. However, stories have abounded that Ferguson has been unhappy with Rooney’s conditioning all season, which was disrupted by the serious gash he suffered to his thigh early in the campaign.

The United boss is hardly one to stand for players with issues remaining at the club, as was clearly seen in the cases of Paul Ince, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Perhaps the situation with Rooney has been less volatile, but this may be a case of Ferguson learning from his mistakes and holding his cards close to his chest. Indeed, his refusal to speak to the media following United’s elimination from the Champions League smacked not only of dissatisfaction but also of wisdom that he did not come out with anything incriminating or overly emotional, which his rivals would seize upon as weakness.

There would be many suitors for Rooney should he become available, not least Paris Saint-Germain. However there are doubts that even they could afford him in that a similar pay packet to Zlatan Ibrahimovic would see the club’s entire annual turnover matched on the wages of two players – surely not possible in line with the new UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations.

It is extremely doubtful United would sell to Manchester City, however Real Madrid seem to be in need of a striker in that Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higua

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