Transfer window. A period full of speculations and rocketing expectations. The gossips and rumours floating around during this phase have the potential to match the thrill of witnessing two bitter rivals drawing swords. For the fans of Manchester United, the current transfer window, till the publishing of this article, has been nothing short of searing agony. If their failure to dictate terms in the transfer market wasn`t enough, the love-hate relationship involving Wayne Rooney and the club has put the current English champions in a tricky spot. The situation is even more precarious as it is barely days before the beginning of a new era at Old Trafford under a new manager. Rooney`s confusion over his diminished role since the arrival of a certain Dutch has apparently made him more adamant to seek a way out of his club of eight years and move to greener pastures. On the other hand, the club seems to have a greater resolve to hold on to him for at least another season.
Rooney joined Manchester United from his boyhood club Everton (which was then managed by David Moyes) in 2004. Three years later, Moyes sued Rooney over comments made by the Liverpudlian in his autobiography. Rooney blamed the Scot for his transfer to Manchester United in the book. Six years later, stars aligned for another Moyes-Rooney showdown. After Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, fellow countryman Moyes was named as his successor at Old Trafford. Ferguson was not only handing him down a rich legacy but also a mess that has now overshadowed United`s current world tour.
After the much publicised saga of how Ferguson got Rooney to sign a five-year-deal following his transfer request in 2010, Wazza is again making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. If then Rooney had cited the club`s inability to attract talent as the reason for his decision, now he has taken an offense at the comments made by new manager suggesting him as a backup to star of the last season`s successful Premier League campaign, Robin van Persie. Overtures are already being made by different clubs to land the talented forward. Chelsea`s returning manager, Jose Mourinho, has made no secret of his desire to add Rooney to his squad after making an unsuccessful bid for his signature.
Moyes would want this overdrawn saga to conclude as soon as possible. Keeping Rooney and managing to land a star during the current transfer window will be ideal. However, under current circumstances with Rooney keeping quiet over the episode, this looks like an unlikely outcome. A failure to bring a big name and departure of Rooney will definitely make fans more suspicious about Moyes` managerial abilities. However, he will have one less problem to deal with as an unhappy player has the potential to create rift among players in the dressing room. United may gloat about the absence of any such incidents in the past but they should remember that that was largely due to Ferguson’s aura. His intimidating persona and philosophy of ‘no player is bigger than the club’ helped him herd the squad together.
Having said that, United should not be entirely held responsible for not doing enough to end the stalemate. They have their own reasons to hold on to Rooney. Van Persie did make an immediate impact after arriving from Arsenal but as the season progressed, he seemed to become less effective. They need someone to partner him upfront and also to step up in the eventuality of him picking up an injury. However, Shinji Kagawa, who had a low key last season, looks able to fill the gap if Rooney leaves.
United`s priority lies in strengthening their midfield – a problem that has plagued them for far too long. Moyes is well aware of that, hence his long-drawn pursuit of Barcelona`s Cesc Fabregas. Moyes will also be focused on making the former Arsenal captain as his first high-profile signing to stamp his authority at the club and officially declare that – his era has begun!
However, it will be ideal that the Scot brings in a star before letting another one go, just to set the balance right and the ball rolling on a positive note.