According to a report by the Guardian, Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney put in a transfer request two weeks ago. Apparently, though, Sir Alex Ferguson -- you know, that guy who used to be manager for awhile -- told the former talisman that no summer move would occur. The validity of this speculation, of course, is open for debate. However, if the transfer request is true, it makes sense to an extent. United are no longer a team built around Rooney and his performances have become increasingly mercurial in recent seasons. The 27-year-old starting against Real Madrid in the first leg of a Champions League tie -- in a wide role which he does not prefer -- followed by his benching in the return leg due to his poor outing at the Bernabeu dramatically highlights how his influence at the club is waning. Perhaps he simply desires a change of scenery and a fresh start elsewhere.
On his day, Rooney is still a force. The problem, though, is that these days are much less frequent than they used to be and they're surrounded by a high number of games where he's simply been a detriment to his side. Michael Cox, of Zonal Marking fame, tweeted a few weeks back on how the range of Rooney's quality in his performances is probably wider than any other footballer on the planet. That's a great point.
If the speculation that David Moyes will be the next United manager is true, then that will be an interesting dynamic to consider in regards to Rooney's future. It was the Scotsman that was Wazza's first manager at Everton before he was sold to United. There was some contentiousness between the two after Moyes sued Rooney over some content in the latter's biography a few years back. Supposedly though, the two later reconciled after an apology by Rooney.
Ferguson is leaving behind a title-winning squad so it's reasonable to think that Moyes -- if appointed as United's next manager -- might not make a drastic amount of tweaks to it. A sale of Rooney, though, for whoever the next manager is, would open up some funds for the summer transfer market. The striker would perhaps fetch a transfer fee in the neighborhood of £25-30 million and his £250,000/week would be off the books as well.
In an ideal world, Rooney would still be a world-class player and he would still be on the trajectory to becoming a legend at the club. That's not the case, though. If another club would be willing to pay the price that I just speculated for a transfer fee (and wish for if he's sold), that would be something United and their new manager would seriously have to consider. At 27-years-old now, Rooney's transfer value is probably at it's peak and United are coming to a point where they need to consider whether it's prudent or not to commit to the striker for the long-term -- his current contract expires in the summer of 2015 so a decision is likely to be made by next summer at the latest.
Even if Rooney did want a move, his choices would likely be limited. His current wages, something he'll surely desire to replicate elsewhere, will be a concern for other clubs. And for the ones that can afford it, they may not want to because they might have comparable or better players or they could purchase another one at a similar price. Think Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc...
No matter how this plays out, I'll be greatly appreciative of Rooney's tremendous contribution to the club during his time at Old Trafford. If he stays, I hope the presence of a new manager inspires him to be the world-class player he once was. If he goes, I hope United get decent coin for him and that he succeeds elsewhere -- and I'll fondly remember the good times. The one thing I don't want to see, though, is for him to stay and extend his contract on huge wages while he continues to put in jekyll-and-hyde performances.