Which suitor would be the best fit for Rooney?

Posted by Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com

Clive Mason/Getty ImagesWayne Rooney's future is the subject of much debate.

The future of Wayne Rooney at Manchester United remains unclear. Prior to Sir Alex Ferguson's departure the exiting manager confirmed that Rooney had handed in a transfer request at the end of last season and many were unsure whether the appointment of David Moyes, a man the striker left behind at Everton early in his career, would improve or exacerbate matters.

While uncertainty still lingers over Rooney's frame of mind it's been no surprise to see a number of Europe's top clubs take an interest in the situation, with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as Real Madrid and PSG from further afield, all rumoured to be circling.

- Rooney 'unhappy over transfer claim'

In this piece WhoScored attempt to gauge which of those sides needs a player like Rooney the most, though none would be reluctant to acquire a player of the Englishman's quality.

It's fair to say that last season wasn't the 27-year-old's best in a United shirt, though it did follow a familiar pattern in term's of the forward's league statistics over the past five seasons. The fact that Rooney scored fewer goals (12), but proved to be more of a creative force, with 10 assists, was as much to do with the arrival of Robin van Persie than it was his own form.

The former Everton man has had to adapt, or been forced to do so, due to the comings and goings at United in recent seasons, switching between the role as an out-and-out forward and more of a withdrawn second striker. Last season he was deployed in an attacking midfield role, having been the focal point of United's attack, scoring 27 goals, the season before.

In the 2008-09 season he scored just 12 league goals before going on to net 26 in the following campaign. In 2010-11 his goal tally dropped once again, to 11, but he picked up a much-improved 11 assists from the three in the previous season. Last season, despite striking 27 times, he picked up just four assists, so if the pattern were to continue, it could be predicted that Rooney is in line for another high-scoring campaign ahead.

The fact is, however, that the player has played deeper and deeper over the last season, and many see him moving back toward the midfield with age. In that case, his suitability to a number of his apparent aforementioned suitors is thrown into doubt.

Chelsea have a glut of attacking midfielders but lack the cutting edge. Whether a player of Rooney's style would fit that role at the Bridge is doubtful, and he would be unlikely to displace fans' favourite Juan Mata in behind the striker - whoever that may be.

It's a similar case at Arsenal. The Gunners' star man Santi Cazorla is no doubt best stationed in the number 10 role, despite being a more than capable interior winger on either flank. Although Theo Walcott might as well stamp the word "striker" on his head, having insisted that is his best position, it seems Arsene Wenger is still on the lookout for a number nine, with Gonzalo Higuain strongly linked. Again, it's unclear whether Rooney could fill that role, despite obviously having the technique to fit in with Arsenal's playing style.

Wayne Rooney contribution
Other / WhoScored.com

The link that seems to make the least sense is perhaps one to Real Madrid, however. The Spanish giants have recently completed the signing of Isco and it's already been questioned whether Ancelotti can field another player between midfield and attack with Mesut Ozil already in place. The potential addition of Rooney, then, may only leave the Italian with the choice of who to leave out rather than how to fit them all in.

Despite their hot pursuit of striker Edinson Cavani, it is perhaps Paris Saint-Germain who could use the variety that Rooney offers to the best effect.

As well as ending the season as the top scorer by an incredible distance, Zlatan Ibrahimovic also led the team in terms of assists, with eight, and it's clear how much the Ligue 1 champions relied on the Swede last season.

Playing in either a 4-2-2-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation, the Parisian moneybags lacked a true creative force in advanced areas, with Javier Pastore picking up a decent seven assists but from just 1.1 key passes per game. Rooney's 10 assists came from significantly more chances created per game (1.8), and although PSG forked out big bucks to bring the likes of Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi to the Parc des Princes, it's fair to say they haven't really lived up to their price tags.

Rooney, on the other hand, has the capability to play both alongside Ibrahimovic, representing a frightening prospect to Ligue 1 defences, or in behind the big man, linking up play and picking out passes as he does so often at Old Trafford.

The England international trumps the likes of Lucas Moura (36.7), Jeremy Menez (30.7) and Lavezzi (31.7) for passes per game, with 45.8. While that figure is just shy of Pastore (49.8), Rooney played further forward, with 77% of his passes coming in the final third compared to 73% of the Argentine's.

Even so, the United man still had a markedly superior pass accuracy overall (82.9% to 77.2%). In addition, he also offers a greater range of passing than the current crop Laurent Blanc is set to inherit, completing far more long balls per game (3.7) than his competitors here.

Whether the former Red Devils defender's connections with the club would help in negotiating a deal is questionable, particularly given that the manager who brought the Frenchman to Manchester has since left, but a move across the channel could suit all parties involved.

United wouldn't be losing a top player to a domestic rival and PSG would show clear intent that they are up for the battle with the mega stars making the move to Monaco.

Crucially, Rooney's goal record would surely rise in France's top flight, and he may be the man to take some of the burden off the considerable shoulders of Ibrahimovic.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

ESPN Conversations