According to Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney currently has two choices – he will either ‘get his head down’ (in Champ Man that would be him ‘re-doubling his efforts in training’) or he will ‘decide the boss no longer fancies him’ and look at moving on. By the looks of things at the moment, Fergie has already decided that Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez will be his strike-force next season, so not only does Rooney need to decide to start working harder in training, but he also needs to go above and beyond Fergie’s expectations in order to prove he still has a future at the club. If that doesn’t happen, where will Wayne end up?
Wayne nearly ended up at Man City back in October 2010 when he handed in his transfer request and publicly questioned the club and ferguson’s ambition. Back then the move was complicated by angry mobs of United fans, but right now many fans would be happy to see the back of him, and whilst he wouldn’t exactly be one of our favourites, it’s not impossible for him to move to City any more.
The question is more whether City want him – they have Aguero, Dzeko, Tevez, Silva and so many other attacking options that they might think all the extra aggravation caused by Rooney wouldn’t be worth the effort. That said, they love getting one over their neighbours (hence the ‘welcome to Manchester’ poster, and taking Rooney to the blue half of the city would be a bit of a coup. They also managed to get Balotelli off the books in the January transfer window, so it’s quite possible that they have the budget to pay his astronomical wages. If he ends up anywhere in England, City are the most likely.
On the off-chance that the toffeemen get taken over by a rich Oil Sheik in the next two months, a chance to return to Goodison Park and re-connect with the fans who have spent years hating him could be on the cards. We doubt he’ll be moving back into a house in Toxteth though…
We can’t really see Rooney speaking a foreign language (he struggles enough with English!) but we reckon he could give a good stab at speaking in English with an accent (a la McLaren and Barton). Of the teams that have been banded around, PSG look like the most likely option. They have the cash, and they are on the look-out for someone to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
More than that, they are looking to make more signals of intent to prove that they are destined to become the world’s biggest club. Whilst Rooney isn’t one of the World’s best strikers (in the Messi / Ronaldo sense), after all the goals and years at United he has the profile of one. PSG could use him to boost their brand, and woul;dn’t even necessarily need him to play particularly brilliantly!
With the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the summer, Bayern are probably going to be making a few changes. There is a slim chance that this could encompass bringing Rooney in, not least because his tenacity and passion has been greatly praised by chairman Franz Beckenbauer in the past, but in truth Rooney doesn’t seem like a Bayern type of striker.
Tito Vilanova (and the rest of the Barca board) is keen on bringing youngsters through the club, with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta et al all having made their way through the various youth teams and into the first team. The ‘more than a club’ ethic is bred into them from a young age, and brings with it a certain style of play – a style that Rooney simply doesn’t suit. He could become another Zlatan (there for one season before they decide that the Plan B option he offered simply wasn’t worth persevering with), but its unlikely Barca would spend so much on another Plan B.
With mourinho likely to leave at the end of the season, anything could happen! Much will depend on who comes in, with the bookies favourite somehow being Rafa Benitez(!?). They will certainly have the money to bolster the squad, and already have some squad players on more than Rooney would earn, but with the situation so up-in-the-air it doesn’t really make sense to count it as a viable option at the moment.
Juve / AC / Inter?
The budget simply isn’t there to pay the young scouser his £200,000 a week, on top of a £25-40m fee. AC broke the bank on Balotelli already, Inter would have to clear out half the squad, and Juve simply don’t have the cash to hand, even if they are now into the last 8 and top of Serie A.
Where will he end up?
In spite of the fact that moving to Manchester City would be the easiest option for him (he doesn’t have to move, etc), we think he’ll look away from the Premier League if he does go. PSG are the most likely (possibly only) option, so we think he’ll be back playing alongside David Beckham next season. Where do you think he’ll end up? Join the debate on twitter – @ftbllr