We all remember the last time Wayne Rooney wanted out. Or at least, we should. In October of 2010, his agent Paul Stretford claimed the nascent twenty five year-old was frustrated with a lack of progress at Old Trafford and that he wanted to compete for trophies he felt were beyond United’s reach.
After two days of death-threats and punditry reliant upon the word “entitlement”, Sir Alex Ferguson and Rooney emerged two days later and announced the forward had signed a new deal – for five years- which would make him the highest-paid Red Devil of all time. The venerable gaffer had spent the previous two days displaying all the hallmarks of a master of amateur cod-psychology, effectively reversing the gun barrel pointed at the club and pointing it squarely at a player never looked upon by “the faithful” in the same way since.
Two and a half years later, we find history repeats itself as the player most associated with Sir Alex Ferguson’s final handful of great Manchester United teams was left out of the manager’s farewell appearance at Old Trafford. The manager himself confirmed – on a day that should have been about him, not anyone else – that Rooney had asked out. Current betting markets like Unibet have Bayern Munich favoured to land the most talented English player of his generation, followed by Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.
However, the equation might not be so simple. As a result both of form and also that abysmally-mismanaged game of one-upmanship, Rooney finds himself with few options. While rumour suggests he prefers a transfer to Bayern Munich, would this year’s Champions League finalists want him – especially with a new manager entering and whispers of Neymar on the way?
At Chelsea, he would be a lumbering throwback at no. 10 and a retrograde step from the scampering dervishes now en vogue forward of centre at Stamford Bridge. Even as a designated poacher, his appeal decreases: while cash isn’t necessarily an object for either Roman Abramovich or the Qatari Sports Group, Financial Fair Play certainly is.
Rooney’s predicament is an absolute function of on- and off-field form. Since his cumbersome double-bluff was called in late 2010, the club’s former talisman has performed only irregularly on the pitch, which has resulted in Ferguson preferring United’s other forward options in the season’s biggest games.
This is multiplied by the lack of esteem in which he – the person, rather than the player – is held by Manchester United’s fans. His continual lack of foresight has seen him maneuver himself into an awkward position - unlike 2010, he appears to genuinely want to leave Manchester, yet the contract he “won” at that time and patchy form hardly endears him to Europe’s top clubs. Rather than accept a lauded position as the definitive Red Devil of the early part of this century, his myopia has led him now to almost certainly ending his career at Old Trafford an unfulfilled great.
Wayne Rooney’s lack of vision has made a very stiff rod for his own back.