Is rumoured Rooney sale Fergie's revenge?

Posted by Mark Payne

Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson PA PhotosWayne Rooney: Not always seen eye to eye with his boss

With evidence beginning to suggest that Wayne Rooney's days in Manchester United's No. 10 shirt may be numbered, important questions need to be asked. Is Rooney on the brink of a transfer for the benefit of the team? Or is it because of internal politics at the club?

Making a brief appearance Sunday night on French TV, former Paris Saint-Germain adviser Michel Moulin described an agreement for Rooney's services as "a done deal." Although no longer on the PSG payroll, Moulin's comment is the most compelling evidence yet that the clock is ticking for Rooney.

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And while PSG director of football Leonardo has played down links to a summer move for Rooney, in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Leonardo said that PSG were looking to add to their squad again this summer, adding, "I do not rule out big signings, but only if there is a suitable opportunity."

Rooney has said that he is "baffled" by the comments of Moulin. However, Rooney's representatives (the same ones who were presumably behind that infamous decision to hand in a transfer request a few years ago) may not be the only ones to be sounding out the French league leaders.

Sir Alex Ferguson is known as a man who remembers when things don't go his way, and things did not go his way during the acrimonious negotiations for Rooney's previous contract in 2010. During that period, Rooney threatened to join Manchester City, and he publicly questioned the ambitions of the Old Trafford club.

Ferguson is also lauded as somebody who puts the welfare of Manchester United above all else. The problem for Rooney is that his sale is starting to make sense. At no other point during his Manchester United career has it been logical to off-load him.

But with Robin van Persie now the No. 1 striker and stories emerging this week that United have reportedly paid a deposit for Atletico Madrid's goal-scoring beast Radamel Falcao, times they are a changin'. It is understood that Atletico are desperate to not let their prized asset join Real Madrid, but are resigned to losing him in the summer. Were he to arrive in Manchester, somebody would have to make way for him.

According to Spanish football correspondent Sid Lowe, there is a telling parallel with the David de Gea transfer. There appear to be similarities in the way in which the deal has been negotiated far in advance. There also will be clear lines of communication between the two clubs after the De Gea deal.

There are many who say that Rooney has not reached his potential as a player, that he has not dazzled as he did in his earlier days and that former peer Cristiano Ronaldo has left him behind. These views tend to do a disservice to Rooney.

Rooney's emergence at the age of 16 and his subsequent megabucks transfer to United at the age of 18 was met with hysterical glee by the media. At the time, and still now, the English national team occupied the doldrums and was in need of a savior. When you heap such pressure on a 16-year-old, disappointment is the only thing that can follow. In reality, Rooney has been magnificent for a decade now.

Regular United watchers will tell you that Rooney is an absolute gem. He is willing to play in any position and he never complains. His discipline as a footballer is supreme, and he can be seen making lung-busting runs to track back in almost every game he plays. It is hard to think of any of his contemporaries who are willing to sacrifice so much for the betterment of the team. Unlike Ronaldo, Rooney is far more motivated by shared glory than personal accolades.

Rooney remains an ungovernable force on the football field and will be an asset to any team he plays for. Whether he has irked Ferguson too much to carry on beyond the summer remains to be seen. If he plays for PSG next season and plays well, many will wonder if he was let go too soon, and if he was sold for the right reasons at all. At the moment, he still has a lot to offer on the field.

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