With every day that goes by, the Wayne Rooney saga becomes increasingly farcical, the failure of club and player to reach if not an agreement at least a relatively amicable solution has casted a massive cloud over the club’s strategy in this summer’s transfer window.
Rooney was due to make his public comeback for the club today, as United take on AIK in Stockholm, the first of their last two pre-season friendlies before the season’s traditional curtain raiser in which United will face Wigan in the Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
The United striker will instead miss today’s game after falling victim of a rather opportune shoulder injury, whose extent was revealed hours after United admitted rejecting a second bid from Chelsea, thought to be in the region of £25m plus add-ons.
Predictably, the latest developments on Rooney’s future are all over the back pages today, with some newspapers going as far as claiming that the 27-year-old’s behaviour has angered some of his team-mates, who have been particularly annoyed at Rooney’s decision to pull out of United’s trip to Stockholm.
Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are thought to be particularly angered by the striker’s behaviour, claims the Independent, adding that Rooney “is drifting into a deep and irretrievable state of estrangement” despite numerous pleas, from David Moyes as well as from senior players, to remain at the club.
A dressing room subject to unrest is the last David Moyes wants, particularly so close to the beginning of the season, while the paper suggests that Rooney could benefit from an internal rift, for it would strengthen his view that his position at the club is untenable, with even his team-mates turning on him.
David Moyes is now in the not enviable position of having to decide between keeping a player who clearly no longer intends to be at the club and selling him, thus running the risk of strengthening one of United’s main rivals, bearing in mind that United are thought to be prepared to part ways with Rooney only if they had a replacement lined up.
Moyes, however, could soon decide that cashing in is the least worst of the option but the majority of today’s newspapers believe that the United manager won’t sell for less than £40m, with the Mirror going as far as suggesting that United could even demand £50m from Roman Abramovich, even though their preferred options remains to sell Rooney abroad.
Unfortunately for Moyes and United, Chelsea are the only club to have shown concrete interest in the striker who, claim various sources, could force the issue himself and submit a formal transfer request to speed up the process and find himself a new club before the beginning of the season.
That club is likely to be based in West London, however, the Telegraph believes that Rooney will consider Arsenal as a viable option too, were the Gunners to submit a formal offer, which would also be welcomed by United, for they clearly consider Arsenal a smaller threat than Chelsea.
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