Having spent upwards of £25 million on Rooney back in 2004, and having sold Cristiano Ronaldo for £80 million, it would be reasonable to assume that United wouldn’t sell Rooney for anything less than £40 million. And that would be cheap of them.
Toward the end of the last season the figure being bandied about was closer to £60 million, and with his current wage demands reportedly hovering around the £160k p/w mark the possible candidates for his signing can only be Manchester City and Real Madrid.
At a push Chelsea, Barcelona and Inter could be included but the reality is a little different; Barcelona got burnt with the Zlatan transfer, and Rooney doesn’t seem like their “kind” of player. Inter are reportedly trying to deal with vast debts incurred by Moratti over the last 5 years, debts which resulted in an unprecedented trophy haul for the Milan side last season. Regardless, this blog doubts somehow that Benitez would be able to persuade Rooney to move to Inter. And Chelsea? The club needs a (young) striker, and being British certainly helps his cause, but the wage demands will be far too high, and with the club aiming for an operating profit an outlay of £40+ million won’t help.
So we come to the 2 financial giants in European football. Manchester City have the cash, that much is clear, but for Rooney to switch from the red half to the blue half of Manchester would be scandalous. Once bandied about as the boy who would bring United further European glory and be “the man” until he retired it would be unthinkable for him to change his allegiance.
Detractors may point to Tevez, however his case was vastly different. Tevez was on loan at United, and although he cared for their fans, it wasn’t as if he’d been there from a young age with the faith of the fans and more importantly his manager resting on his shoulders. I don’t remember anyone being taken aback when he moved to City.
That really only leaves Real Madrid.
Rooney is rumoured to be an admirer of Mourinho, and at 24 this represents his greatest chance to seal a big money move to play under a manager at the top of his game. He would be reunited with Ronaldo, a player with whom he enjoyed tremendous success, and who he clearly got along with as an individual. But it isn’t as cut and dry as that; when Beckham moved to the Spanish giants he was a media magnet, already the poster-boy of English football, already adorning Adidas billboards around the globe. At a time when Florentino was running a club based on shirt sales Beckham represented the holy grail of footballers.
Now things are very different. Florentino is trying to run a football club, and Mourinho will not suffer fools gladly. Having been ejected from Stamford Bridge after a run-in over transfer policy with Abramovich it has become apparent that his current deal is that he and he alone chooses the team. He is rumoured to be interested in a new striker, but what he wants is a Drogba, a Milito, a Llorente, not a Rooney.
Time is running out for Rooney, if Fergie wants him out, then he’s gone. And if no-one comes in for him then he may find himself on the blue half of Manchester, or biting his tongue and getting on with what his focus should be right now; playing well for the Reds.