Europe's summer striker carousel and Wayne Rooney

Shaun Botterill

Be prepared for the Wayne Rooney transfer saga to possibly drag on until the end of the summer transfer window.

One thing is certain about Wayne Rooney right now: he's incredibly polarizing. It's not hard to find a Manchester United supporter that vehemently wants the mercurial striker to leave Old Trafford, nor would a search take long to find one that desperately wants the 27-year-old to stay. What's uncertain about the Englishman, though, is his future at United. While all of us -- no matter which side of the fence you sit on in regards to your desires for Rooney's future -- wish for the transfer saga to end soon, that's increasingly appearing unlikely. Be prepared for the possibly of the issue to drag on until the end of the summer transfer window.

David Moyes has stated publicly that Rooney is not for sale. The new manager, though, wasn't entirely convincing that Rooney would for sure be staying at United this summer and the player himself has been somewhat coy as of late on the subject. The way this all is being handled by the club and Rooney's camp makes sense because while work could be going on behind the scenes over a possible move for the player, if one doesn't happen, then the two parties can continue on September 1 like the plan was always for him to stay.

It's hard to imagine that United would turn down any offer north of £30 million for Rooney. Even though there has been recent suggestions that the club would be willing to let the player's contract run down on it's final two years, it wouldn't be prudent to do so. Allowing the summer transfer window to pass without a resolution on his future could cost the club a good chunk of cash. Letting Rooney to get one-year older, only have one-year remaining on his contract, and a further dip in form could result in United losing up to £20 million or so in transfer fees next summer while they would also be paying him £13 million annually in salary. Look at what just happened to Carlos Tevez.

A major issue, though, on a possible Rooney sale is that the market is very limited and the handful of clubs that can actually afford him arguably have better options right now. Domestically, the only clubs that could seemingly afford a Rooney move are Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea. The noisy neighbours, though, appear to no longer have interest in a player they once pursued in 2010 as they've reportedly turned their striker interest to Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Saldado, and Stevan Jovetic. Arsenal have been linked with Rooney but it's uncertain if they would actually desire the player if their business for Gonzalo Higuain is finalized. Jose Mourinho's side is a possibility but perhaps he'll eventually decide that he'd rather give Romelu Lukaku more opportunities and maybe he's awaiting to see how the Edinson Cavani and Robert Lewandowski transfer sagas conclude this summer -- the latter two are younger than than Rooney and both are coming off of better recent seasons. Christian Benteke -- who recently put in a transfer request at Aston Villa -- is another striker that domestic clubs might desire more than the Englishman.

In Spain, it's highly unlikely that Barcelona would make a move for Rooney as they'll already be trying to assimilate Neymar into the attack alongside Lionel Messi (with Pedro likely the other preferred player in their front three due to his tactical awareness of Barca's system and his work-rate provides balance). Real Madrid could be a possibility but they'd probably rather see how things play out in regards to Cavani, Luis Suarez, and possibly Robert Lewandowski -- and even a Gareth Bale signing could dry up money for a Rooney move.

How about a possible move to France, Germany, or Italy? Bayern Munich are patiently waiting for Lewandowski and there has even been talk that Pep Guardiola could experiment with Mario Gotze as a 'false 9'. Borussia Dortmund have recently gotten a ton of cash from their run to the UEFA Champions League final and the sale of Gotze -- however, even though Lewandowski appears to be on the move within the next year, Jurgen Klopp has already reloaded at striker with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Only Juventus might be able to afford Rooney in Serie A but they've already bought Tevez and Fernando Llorente and they could be lining up a bid for Jovetic, as well. In France, Monanco splashed cash on Falcao but Paris Saint-Germain could be a possibility. However, the latter club could be getting Cavani instead and that likely would rule out a Rooney move.

It appears likely, if United desire to sell Rooney and/or if the player wishes for a move away from the Theatre of Dreams, that they'll have to wait for Europe's summer striker carousel to play out. He could be a 'plan B' pursuit for some clubs if their more desired transfer targets don't pan out. Be prepared for the possibility of very little happening for the Englishman in the next few weeks. Things could even get quieter now, too, with Rooney's hamstring injury forcing him to leave United's summer tour.

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