Is there an actual market for a Wayne Rooney transfer?

Alex Livesey

At the moment, only PSG appear to be a realistic possibility for a Wayne Rooney transfer.

Quite obviously, Wayne Rooney is a hot topic when it comes to discussing the summer transfer window for Manchester United because of his supposed transfer request -- if true, it's his second in three seasons. According to some reports, United would listen to potential buyers if a club came offering a transfer fee in the region of £40 million. The English champions, though, would be incredibly fortunate to get that amount in a potential Rooney transfer -- especially with better players like Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski, and Luis Suarez all possibly being available this summer.

If one really ponders the possibility of a Rooney sale this summer, it's actually reasonable to wonder if there's even an actual market for the former talisman. United have handled the situation quite predictably -- publicly new manager David Moyes has stated that he fancies having the attacker at Old Trafford next season. Even if the former Everton boss doesn't actually desire this privately, he wouldn't admit so publicly because this would harm United's position in any potential negotiations with Rooney's suitors. How many potential suitors, though, are actually out there? Are there any?

The only clubs that could even afford Rooney's transfer fee (for hypothetical purposes, let's say United would sell him for £30 million) and his wages (it's believed that he's currently on about £250,000/week) are limited: this pretty much extends to Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, AS Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain, Anzhi Makhachkala, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal. The latter, though, is highly unlikely to shatter their transfer fee record and drastically move away from their wage structure for Rooney -- if they were to move away from their current wage structure for anyone, it's probably Cesc Fabregas. The Englishman's only other options might be in Qatar or China. The likes of Juventus, Milan, and Inter likely can't afford him while he probably wouldn't agree to a Atletico Madrid type of move.

If each of these scenarios are considered, then it's actually not hard to find obvious reasons why each of these might not be viable options:

* Bayen Munich: The recent treble winners already have Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez (for now) as No.9's, Lewandowski could be headed there, and they have Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, and now Mario Gotze as No.10 options (if Pep Guardiola sticks with a 4-2-3-1 shape as opposed to the 4-3-3 he typically used at Barcelona). Rooney won't make them any better.

* Barcelona: David Villa might be on his way out, but they've already made their splash move for an attacker in Neymar. Rooney's relatively poor first-touch and his lack of discipline defensively would be a detriment to the Catalan side's way of playing. If they make another big buy this summer, it's likely to be on a central-defender.

* Real Madrid: This actually, on the surface of things, seems somewhat reasonable. Rooney is good friends with Cristiano Ronaldo and if Karim Benzema's form doesn't improve, the Englishman would be an upgrade next season as a No.9. However, they may make a big move for better attackers like Cavani, Suarez, or Gareth Bale.

* Monaco: The ambition of owner Dmitry Rybolovlev is quite clear after their recent acquisitions of James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho, and Falcao. In addition, more high-profile players are likely to arrive on their Mediterranean shores this summer (this possibly includes Nani). However, Falcao -- arguably the world's best No.9 not named Lionel Messi -- will be the attacking fulcrum of the side. Unless Claudio Ranieri decides to deploy his side in a 4-4-2, something continental sides don't often do anymore, he's probably not interested in the United attacker.

* Anzhi Makhachkala: Does anybody think Rooney wants to ply his trade in Dagestan, despite the club's money? Me neither.

* Manchester City: Rooney reportedly was willing to make the move to the noisy neighbours in 2010. However, he was a much more enticing player then. He's not an upgrade on Sergio Aguero or Carlos Tevez (if he stays) and he's not as enticing as Cavani. United, too, would almost certainly be hesitant selling to a domestic rival.

* Chelsea: Rooney would be an upgrade on Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, but it actually might be more prudent to establish Romelu Lukaku into the side than it is to pay a lump sum of money for Rooney. The Englishman, though, might actually be a decent fit as a 'false 9' in front of the attackers such as Oscar, Eden Hazard, and Juan Mata. Just like the City scenario, United would be reluctant to sell to a domestic rival and Chelsea might be forced to pay a premium (as would City). Jose Mourinho might actually desire a better player up front like Cavani or Lewandowski.

* Qatar/China: Like Dagestan, I don't see Rooney moving to either of these locations, despite the possibilities of extraordinary wages. Furthermore, the recent experiences of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka should make most wary about any promised wages in China. This leaves PSG...

* Paris Saint-Germain: This is a similar scenario to Monaco, except that their well-funded 'project' began a few years ago. And like their soon-to-be league rivals, they have a world-class No.9 in Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Zlatan, though, actually seems keen on partnering Rooney up front and more importantly, the club might be interested in the Englishman too -- they've reportedly told him to 'name his price' in attempt to entice him to Paris. This is perhaps United's best hope if they want to sell Rooney -- and if PSG realize this, then they'll know there isn't a market for the player and this will assist them in any possible negotiations.

*****

The bottom line is this: there simply doesn't appear to be much of a market for Rooney at this moment in time. This could result in him returning to United next season and all of the public statements that they've recently made about him would support the company line that they never wanted to rid of him in the first place. Transfer windows are incredibly fluid so it only takes one club to make a drastic move to change the situation. For now, though, PSG might be the only possible option.

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