"I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney said Wednesday in a statement. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract. I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it.
"It is absolutely true, as he said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract. During those meetings in August, I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world."
"I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC. How could I not have done given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?" Rooney said. "For me its all about winning trophies -- as the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.
"Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18. For Manchester United's sake, I wish he could go on forever because he's a one off and a genius."
Well this is an interesting twist. He paints himself as an ordinary ambitious athlete who just wants to win (and we never really complain about top players for other teams eyeballing OUR trophy case, so let's not get too far up on our high horses on this one), and then he essentially paints the Glazers as the villain of the piece, which is going to be an argument that has a lot of appeal to a lot of MU fans.
So I don't know how much traction this will get him, we'll see how it plays out politically, but it does raise an interesting possibility for a silver lining:
If Rooney leaves for a song (and there's no way MU gets a good return for him under these circumstances: the other teams know we HAVE to move him, they know he'll only accept a handful of teams, which severely limits the competition at bidding, and there's only a year and a bit left on his existing contract, so there's not a whole lot of extra value there), then MU's net present value has to drop. The club simply isn't worth as much if one of it's main sources of revenue walks out the door eight to ten years early, and for pennies on the pound.
"Ah," you say, "but SAF is a genius, he's cleaned up bigger messes before." Well sure, but cleaning up the messes takes a little time, and he's getting a bit long in the tooth, he isn't going to be there many more years, and, let's face it, doesn't have quite the budget to work with that he used to...
So you're the Glazers, you're looking at one of your big investment properties deflating considerably in value, and the only reason you want this thing is for the ego and the money (don't tell me they have any emotional attachment to the club)... If all of the above really is what it appears to be, your best move at this point is to make it known that you will sell at a reasonable value to the Red Knights (or some such), because if that would make Rooney stay, then this is the only way they stop the perceived future value of the franchise dropping off a cliff... and perceived future value is what sets the sales price for any asset that people are using as an investment (such as, say, revenue generating football clubs).
This is all total speculation on my part, of course, but here's the extreme optimism outlook for you: Roo making a credible threat of quitting might be able to do what all the people who couldn't quite bring themselves to give up their seasons tickets couldn't... give the Glazers a hard shot to whichever region of the trousers holds their wallet.