Rooney to City. Could it happen? Should it happen?
Rooney. Rooney. Rooney. Last week the thought of City fans chanting that name would have been insane. The odds are a lot shorter now.
Inevitably City have been linked with the player ever since the story of Rooney refusing to sign a new United contract was broke by the Mirror on Sunday. The prospect is a delicious one for the media, but could it happen? Here’s 10 reasons why it’s a possibility, and a couple why City should think twice.
- Money, as in wages. United’s offer is thought to be around £150k per week. Not a trifling sum and one which would make Wayne the biggest earner at United. But, crucially, not the biggest earner in Manchester. While accurate information on salaries is hard to find, both Yaya and Adebayor are reported to be on more. Possibly Tevez as well.
- The Webster ruling. Not only is Rooney’s contract up in 2012, according to the Webster ruling he could buy out the remaining year of his contract next Summer. United would probably get less than £10m if the player activated this clause.Oliver Kay, The Times:
For what it’s worth, European Club Association members (which include #MCFC) have unwritten agreement that they won’t exploit Webster Ruling
That maybe the case, but the threat of it puts United in a poor bargaining position. Something that Rooney’s agent will be aware of. The cheaper a star player is sold for, the better the contract they can command. As a result United might look to sell in January, though even then the price could be affected. Why pay in excess of £50m for someone who could be available for next to nothing in the Summer?
- Fianancial Fair Play arrives next Summer. The upcoming new rules are likely to leave this January as the last transfer window for Sheikh Mansour to spend freely. If he wants to make a galactico signing now’s the time. Big deals are rarely done outside of the Summer, but this January could be an exception, particularly for City.In addition Rooney would be entering the final year of his contract next Summer and big European clubs aren’t averse to playing a long game over a target in order to get the fee down. Just look at how Milan left it till late to sign Ibrahimovic. The Glazers would want to avoid that kind of scenario.
- Paul Stretford, Rooney’s agent. A tough negotiater who dedicates his time to his primary client. Stretford’s doing his job in seeking the best deal for Rooney and, as with Tevez, that could be with City. There’s a chance this is all a game of brinkmanship with United to get them to up their offer. A similar thing happened with Keane’s contract talks. We’ll just have to wait and see.
- Rooney’s wages might be accommodated. The big question for City regarding Financial Fair Play is how on earth we’re going to raise our turnover sufficiently to cover our wage bill. Adding Rooney on £200k+ per week hardly seems a step in the right direction. However we currently pay Bellamy and Adebayor more than we’re likely to pay Rooney. Say goodbye to those two, as seems likely, and our overall wage bill is unaffected.
- Rooney’s relationship with Fergie. Two highly combustible figures, and Fergie has a lot of history here. Any player who thinks he’s bigger than the club (or Fergie) is normally on his way. If their relationship is all over, then it’s hard to imagine Rooney sulking unused on the bench from now until the end of the season. For the sake of team morale a deal would need to be done swiftly.
- Rooney’s state of mind. It’s not been the best six months since he came back against Bayern. Onfield and off, there’s been enough stresses to make anyone agitated. And Rooney isn’t the most placid of characters. Frustration and anger are likely to be another aspect pushing him towards a change.Also, Rooney doesn’t shirk from controversy. His transfer to United was a tortuous one as Moyes made it clear he didn’t want the teenager to go. Young Wayne toughed it out and the animosity it generated on Merseyside is comparable to that he could expect from United fans.
- Rooney’s age. City’s current policy is to sign players with a future, particularly as Financial Fair Play is going to limit our ability to make numerous big signings for a couple of years at least. At 24, Rooney fits the profile of having plenty of good years ahead of him.
- Wayne & Coleen’s desire to stay in England. It’s said he wants to stay in England and she in the North West. Chelsea were interested in Torres in the Summer so they can’t be entirely ruled out from making a bid. Likewise a move to Madrid may not be as unappealing to Rooney as is made out. He enjoyed playing with Ronaldo and, if they want him, they can be persuasive. Jose may be tempted despite the denials. Whether they’d do it in January is questionable.
- Profile raising. After Ronaldinho, Kaka, Eto, and Torres we’d finally have our galactico. Garry Cook and the owners have been desperate for it. A global brand capable of selling shirts and the club around the world. No signing would sate the desire to be seen as the biggest club in Manchester than that of United’s outstanding player.
A few reasons why signing Rooney might not be such a good idea.
- The effect on Tevez. There’s no doubt who is top dog at City. Mancini confirmed Tevez as our talisman by making him captain. At United, playing second fiddle to Rooney was a major reason in Carlos leaving.How could Mancini keep both these egos happy? They both want to play every week, and as a striker. Neither is happy on the flanks, though either could operate in a deeper role. Talking of players whose ego wouldn’t be happy on the bench, there’s also Balotelli (and his transfer loving agent).
- Form is temporary, class is permanent. The old adage is true in that throughout his career Rooney’s form has been temporary. His current slump is nothing new. There have been several barren spells to separate the brilliant ones. Tevez on the other hand has been a goal machine for the last 12 months. Even when his touch deserts him for a spell, the scoring rate keeps ticking over.
- Is Rooney the type of striker Mancini wants to sign? The two strikers most likely to be on their way out of Eastlands in January are Adebayor and Santa Cruz. If Wolfsburg were finally prepared to sell, then a bid for Dzeko was looking likely. The giant Bosnian would be a clear replacement for these two, giving Mancini the option of an aerial threat to complement the industry of Tevez. Rooney, on the other hand, plays a similar role to the Argentine and Mancini might have to compromise his tactical options to accommodate the diminutive pair. Whether such a strong character as Mancini would be happy with this is questionable. Rooney’s a talent, but so was Robinho.
Finally, a big question for the Glazers is who is likely to be around longer, Ferguson or Rooney? With all the previous senior players he’s controversially got rid of – Ince, Stam, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Keane – Fergie could be confident of outlasting them. Rooney is 24 and could be a top player for another 7 or 8 years, with his peak yet to come. Can the same be said of Fergie? There’s been speculation that he might go at the end of this season if he were to secure another Champions League. If the end is in sight for the manager do the Glazers want to lose their best player because of him?
Only recently United said they wouldn’t be negotiating new contracts with players until they’re down to their last year. It was seen as a way of saving money. One wonders where the current situation leaves that policy.
Are you ready for this?