It was October 2010 when Rooney 1st expressed a desire to leave. He pulled out of contract negotiations, questioning the clubs ability to attract and sign the best players to improve the squad. I like many others at the time just believed this to be a ploy from Rooney and his advisors to get a better deal., and sadly it worked he was rewarded with a bumper new contact and a hefty pay rise to go with it. But back then the landscape at Manchester United was very different.
At the time Rooney was completely central to United. He was arguably their best player, a player with the ability to turn a game on his own. The season before he had scored a career best 34 goals in 44 games, and was regarded as one of the best players in Europe. So when he forced the clubs hand, the club felt obliged to give in. There was a small period of discontent from some sections of the Old Trafford support but on the whole as Rooney began to play well, all of the controversy of the transfer request and his contract was forgotten. But things could not be more different this time around.It was just before the end of last season when retiring United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that Rooney had again called his future into question. He had had apparently asked for clarification over his squad status and indicated that he would like to leave the club. The biggest difference this summer is that Rooney is no longer the golden boy. That mantle currently belongs to a certain Robin Van Persie. During the 11-12 season Rooney had again scored 34 goals, but the arrival of Van Persie and the Dutchman’s brilliant form pushed him down the pecking order. He spent much of the season struggling with injuries, which meant he was unable to get into a rhythm. The injuries may well have been down to bad luck but because Rooney as it has been suggested does not look after himself when injured it takes him a long time to rediscover his form. This is because it takes him so long to get fit. There have been rumours from inside United that this has annoyed staff more than once.
But the main problem last season was his form, yes he scored and contributed to goals but he spent much of the time looking out of shape and off the pace. And his recurring desire to leave surely cannot help team morale. I know fans I’ve spoken to are getting tired of him. So for me he is starting to become more trouble than he is worth and should be allowed to leave.And interestingly I really don’t think the club would suffer from him leaving or need to break the bank to sign another striker. I think a perfect replacement is already there. Shinji Kagawa. He is the perfect number 10. He proved at Dortmund that he has the vision, the touch, creativity and eye for goal to play this role for United as he effectively did for the German side. And in my view playing the Kagawa here would get the best out of him, and he could really start to demonstrate the ability which he only managed to show in flashes last season.
Having said all of this Rooney is not a bad player, but he seems to be on slide and everything seems to have gone a bit stale, and the new start for the club under David Moyes would be the perfect chance for him to move on. The potential arrival of Cesc Fabregas would also make things very interesting. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rooney stay (more through a lack of options than anything else) but personally I think his time at United is up. ‘Off you go Wayne… Shut the door on your way out.’