… It’s been the question on everyone’s minds (maybe not everyone’s) for a week now.
Where is Wayne Rooney going to take his talents?
… and it turns out, at least for now, that the answer is … Manchester United!!!
Why then does it feel like Manchester United just picked what was behind Door #2 and instead of winning the $10,000 cash and a 1982 Ford Fiesta, they instead got a lifesize Shrek doll filled with chocolate covered grasshoppers?
Some want to credit this as Rooney creating a row as a ploy to get a better contract. Can we really believe this one, though? Is Rooney really that smart? Is his agent really that slick? Somehow, I find it hard to believe that’s the case.
I’m tempted to think Rooney was truthful in his worries about the club’s shortcomings. I’m not even sure he was wrong. United haven’t looked the part of a Big 4 contender this season, and the players brought in to carry the torch as players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Edwin Van der Sar play out their time before transferring to AARP Rovers simply aren’t of the level expected by the club’s fans – and to be truthful, probably by the club itself.
Sir Alex Ferguson was notable and hailed as astonishingly honest in what many perceived to be door-opening comments into the psyche of the club at his press conference earlier this week when discussing RooGate. It certainly seemed like there was no way back for Rooney, who was to go the way of David Beckham and Carlos Tevez and find success elsewhere. And in my mind, if he really wanted to go, United should have shipped him off. No reason to keep a want-away player, no matter who he is.
But now, for better or worse, he’s back – even if he never actually left. In the end, maybe Rooney won, maybe the club won, but it’s really hard to tell. Hell, knowing United this season, it’s probably a draw. Rooney has been a top-class player in the past, but he isn’t right now. And to sign him to a deal through 2015 is a gamble, given that he probably won’t be healthy until at least 2013.
I get where Rooney was coming from. While still young, he’s been a pro now for a long time, and probably shouldn’t have to tolerate a rebuilding year. And surely, England’s abbreviated World Cup was no picnic, either. I understand him feeling there is greener grass in another country, or across the city … then changing his mind. He’s still young enough to be impressionable, and my guess is that SAF mind-tricked the hell out of him, convinced him that Manchester City wasn’t the Jedi he was looking for, and that was that.
But what have United really gotten here? They’ve missed a chance to sell Rooney and bring in funds that they surely must need. They keep a player with world-class potential, who’s been disappointing for some time now, and that’s when he’s actually on the field. Certainly, there’s plenty of time for a return to glory between now and 2015, but will this deal save the current season? I don’t think so.
And if United now cannot do the things required when the transfer window opens again to address some of its issues, then Rooney will find that he was right along, and the voices in his head, which we’re all pretty sure only he can understand, will start all over again.