“Manchester United isn’t about Wayne; Manchester United is about the team, the club.” – David Moyes
Interpret it as you like, but with a statement this bold, the new manager, David Moyes, has made a few things very, very clear.
First, Wayne Rooney is not an indispensable asset to Manchester United anymore. The club, like any other top clubs in the world, doesn’t want to sell their world class players. United is ofcourse no exception and therefore, they are keen to fend off interests from other top clubs, insisting the player is simply not up for sale.
They do want their best players to give their best for this iconic club, but that doesn’t mean that the player should be the centre of all attention rather than the team.
Like all the other players in the club, Moyes has plans for Rooney too and therefore it would have given a wrong message had United concentrated their pre-season only on the Englishman.
Secondly, many would point out that Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t take a hard stance when Rooney wanted to leave the club few seasons ago. Instead he was given a lucrative contract at the club, when in other cases Ferguson could have shown him the exit door like he did with other stars in the past.
But, one has to understand that the situation then was lot different from now. There was already an offer in place for him, which Rooney didn’t want to sign in the first place, a situation that prompted Ferguson to come out in the press, portraying him as a villain. It was a master-stroke from the Scott, which ultimately forced Rooney’s camp to back-track from their demands.
What Ferguson did then was for the best interest of the club. It was a difficult time for United then, having lost Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, two great players just a season ago. And losing Rooney, would have dealt a huge blow to the club.
Moyes is simply following the path of Ferguson. He is doing what seems to be in the best interests of the club. He has thereby made it clear, that he values Rooney as an important member of the team and that’s why doesn’t want to lose him, but the former Everton star will have to prove his worth as well.
And finally, United are pretty relaxed with Rooney’s contract situation. Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, said recently:
“There are no contract renewals that are being discussed. I am not sitting down with any player on an extension and there is no trigger date in the diary. Would we be afraid to run a contract down? Of course not.”
Two years is a long time to assess the situation of a player – his fitness, form and performance. There’s no need to panic now. But, I what personally think is, United probably haven’t got the sort of offers they expect for Rooney. Had it been a £40 million offer on the table, probably United would have given a second thought.
Further, if Moyes can get the best out of Rooney, which he expects to do, then United can easily hand him another better contract, judging by his form. If he rejects, United would be able to drive his price up by a few more millions because of the good form. It seems like United are prepared to take that gamble.