In recent weeks, reports over the future of Wayne Rooney have escalated with many speculating the England international could be on his way out of Old Trafford amid reports of a breakdown in the relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, something which the Scot has feverently denied in the past.
Speaking at his pre-match news conference yesterday, Ferguson explained the reasons for Rooney being withdrawn from the field around the 70th minute mark against West Ham in what was a rather unremarkable performance in central midfield against a dominant Diame.
“I don’t think there is anything in that at all,” he said.
“As far as taking him off the other night, it was simple – he wasn’t playing as well as Shinji [Kagawa].
“In so many games Wayne Rooney is better than most players, but on the night Shinji was playing so well.”
Ferguson had recently stated that Rooney would get a new deal at the end of the season but was coy on the subject on Friday.
“I couldn’t tell you about that,” he said.
Reports first surfaced after Rooney was benched for the Fulham game in August, and became even more prevalent following the former Everton man’s omission from the starting line-up against Real Madrid, something which at the time was put down to a tactical decision.
It has hardly been a vintage campaign for Rooney despite his impressive 16 goal tally, with the season characterized by injuries and poor fitness.
Links have persistently seen the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski and Atletico Madrid’s scoring sensation Radamel Falcao being touted for a move to Old Trafford, while Rooney himself has been strongly linked with PSG although the club have distanced themselves from a move after an ex-direector called the deal ‘done’.
Recently Rooney has impressed in a central midfield role, especially against Stoke but his performance against West Ham was rather typical of this season with his first touch again evading him.
Would it be in United’s interest to sell Rooney if a £30 million+ bid came in from anywhere? It would certainly have to be considered. And in reality, this summer would be the last time that United could really cash in on Rooney if selling him was a genuine option.