Needless to say, rumors surrounding Rooney's departure from United has been flying around. Articles have been written, comments have been posted. From reading the numerous comments posted by other fans, I have noticed most people have assumed the main reason for Rooney's departure is because his status as the undisputed front man for United is getting replaced by Robin Van Persie. What is more painful to notice, is that most fans do not seem to be rejecting the idea of Rooney leaving United. He is not worth 250K a week, they say.
I can see why most fans believe Rooney wants to leave because RvP is now the first choice striker. Being a grumpy kid, he does seem likely to have that sort of temper. However, recall your memory on the day Fergie signed RvP... Were you not knocked off your nuts to see the partnership between Rooney and RvP? It seemed like a magical and highly practical combination, because United has a tradition of playing a 4-4-2 system, meaning our starting line up needs two strikers. RvP can be the first choice #9, and Rooney would be the first choice #10 as usual. Therefore, it does not make any sense to me that RvP is replacing Rooney at Old Trafford. In fact, even before RvP came along, Rooney has always played as a #10, partnering with either Chicha or Welbz. If RvP is replacing anyone at Old Trafford, it is either one of Chicha or Welbeck, not Rooney.
Throughout last season, however, United have rarely played a 4-4-2 system with Rooney being the second striker right behind RvP being the center forward. Instead, at least at the beginning of the season, Fergie preferred playing the diamond. The reason is straight forward, because we have 4 great strikers but our wingers suck. For whatever reason, Fergie did not play Nani, Tony had an absolutely terrible season, and Ashley was just being Ashley, squaring the ball for no reason on the left wing. The point is, the Rooney and RvP combo did not seem to pan out as great as people have expected was not due to their fault, but our wingers' (and maybe also our midfield). As a result of our poor wingers, Rooney has to drop deeper into an AMF position to help out on creating chances.
It is Kagawa, not RvP, that is overlapping with Rooney's position in the starting XI. Strictly speaking, they have different positions because Rooney is an SS, and Kagawa is an AMF, but these two positions do not co-exist in the same team sheet. I absolutely adore Kagawa and I have confidence in him blossoming into a terrific player at Old Trafford, but if the choice is to be made between Rooney and Kagawa, instead of a choice between Rooney and RvP, are the fans really choosing Kagawa over Rooney? Choosing a yet to be proven player at Old Trafford over our hero who has been carrying our team since the day Ronaldo left? 250K is a huge price tag, but when Rooney made a dramatic U turn and signed a new contract in 2010, did 250K seem too much to you for United to keep hold of Rooney? Probably not. The moment I saw on the news that Rooney signed a contract extension, I broke into tears, by the way.
It is true that after his magnificent season during 2009-2010, Rooney has not been playing to his best potential. However, it is still noteworthy that in the season of 2011-2012, he still scored 27 league goals, only a few behind the Golden Boot winner Robin Van Persie. Yes, Rooney had an off season last season by scoring only 12 league goals, with only 0.49 goals per 90 minutes, when RvP has 0.66 goals per 90 minutes. However, it is unfair to compare Rooney's striking statistics with other strikers because Rooney has not been deployed as a striker. In fact, if you take a look at his assist statistics, Rooney has a 0.45 assist per 90 minutes, when RvP only has 0.23 assist per 90 minutes. By simple addition, during last season, Rooney is involved in 0.94 goals per 90 minutes, even more than RvP's 0.89. Not too shabby for an off season from Wayne!
I sincerely hope the fans and the board of United could pay more attention to the Rooney situation. In my opinion, keeping Rooney is a no-brainer. Fans in doubt please re-watch our first game vs. Spurs last season, where we lost 3-2 at last. Look at the difference Rooney made to the game once he came on right after half-time. Rooney has been, and still is, the core engine of United. If we ever see Rooney going against us in a different shirt, we will be sorely reminded of what an absolutely brilliant player he is.