[UPDATE 1: Here is the transcript of the interview Wayne gave to MUTV this afternoon, after signing his contract.]
[UPDATE 2: Here is the video from the aforementioned interview. You'll need to register and log in at ManUtd.com to watch.]
This morning, Wayne Rooney signed a 5 year contract worth £180,000 ($283,406 at current rates) a week to remain at United. He then issued the following statement:
"I'm delighted to sign another deal at United. In the last couple of days, I've talked to the manager and the owners and they've convinced me this is where I belong. I said on Wednesday the manager's a genius and it's his belief and support that have convinced me to stay".
"I'm signing a new deal in the absolute belief that the management, coaching staff, board and owners are totally committed to making sure United maintains its proud winning history – which is the reason I joined the club in the first place".
Really? Roo has "absolute" belief? So his statement from Wednesday...that was a ploy, then? What exactly is his end game?
READ THE REST AFTER THE JUMP!
If Rooney truly meant that he didn't believe that United has the resources going forward to build a winning team, nothing's changed since Wednesday...or has it? I'm certain Wayne's mates had to have some offense to that comment. How could the younger players not be offended? We've talked about it several times here, that United is not only deep, but it's deep with youth. Manchester United have a top-rate academy and a pretty successful reserve team set-up. If anything, United are among the very few elite teams in the world with such a quality set-up.
Okay, maybe it wasn't the Academy and the Reserves, then...it was what everyone else thought it was...money. Either his money-grab on this contract (fully deserved, by the way), of a perception that the Glazers lack the capital moving forward to purchase quality players. While there's no doubt in any United supporters mind that the Glazer do in fact have money problems, the "facts" are a bit different:
- The bonds sold last year were pretty successful and were able to provide the club with an injection of much-needed capital;
- If David Gill is to be believed, United have (or had before Rooney's contract) around £165m in the bank, presumably for Sir Alex to spend at his discretion;
- The transfer market is completely out of control, with teams like Manchester City and Real Madrid able to splash large amounts of cash down seemingly at-will, which has totally skewed the entire system;
- And finally, if United spend all their kitty on Rooney...then of course, they won't have the money to splash on other players.
Perhaps Wayne thought of this last point and didn't try and get £250k a week, as it was suggested Manchester City were willing to offer. Figuring on that 180k a week, that comes out to roughly £45m over the course of the contract, not including bonuses, endorsements or wage increase over the life of the contract.
There are still too many unanswered questions which leave me a bit unsettled. Have we all been played by Rooney, Sir Alex, the club, or a combination of the three? Were their public statements earlier this week all a negotiating tactic? Perhaps it was the "supporters" that showed up at your house that changed your mind? If you're so convinced that United are headed in the right direction to sign a 5 year contract, why not sign the lifetime deal you asked for in February? Was that taken off the table?
I don't know the answers, but I hope we find out soon enough.
As a matter of site news: I apologize for not getting any From the Back Pages written up this week. Frankly, it's been quite a chore to open up my Google Reader and try and decipher what's important and what's not when nearly every story has 'Wayne Rooney' in the headline. Now that this nonsense is over with, expect one tonight. Again, my apologies.