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Why The Cards Are Stacked Against Man Utd And In Favor Of Rooney

 Why The Cards Are Stacked Against Man Utd And In Favor Of Rooney

A mob of around 40 people descended on Wayne Rooney’s mansion Thursday night and made death threats. The Daily Telegraph reported that United supporters were chanting “Join Man City and you die,” while The Guardian reported that protesters unfurled a “If you join City, you’re dead” banner. The protesters, who referred to themselves as ‘Men In Black’ on forums and Twitter, wore balaclavas, hooded tops and Cantona masks. Thankfully police broke up the protest, no arrests were made, and there was no confrontation with Rooney, who remained safe inside his Wilmslow, Cheshire home.

Now if Manchester United supporters want to drive Rooney away from the club, episodes like this one that happened Thursday night will do exactly that. For many supporters, they’ll be glad to see Rooney leave United after the way he abandoned the club and broke the trust and loyalty with the supporters. But the ramifications of a possible departure by Rooney on Manchester United would be immense and may be the beginning of the fall of the United empire in English football.

Love him or hate him, Wayne Rooney is Manchester United. The club needs him more than he needs Manchester United. Yes, a player should never be more important than a club, but in Manchester United’s case they need Rooney to stay now more than ever because (1) it would cost a fortune to find a player of his calibre to replace him, and (2) the man alone generates a ton of revenue for Manchester United in the form of sponsorships and shirt sales. Losing Rooney would have a dramatic impact on the club’s form and in their pocket book. He hasn’t been playing anywhere near his potential but when the player is on top of his form, he’s one of the best in the world.

After Thursday’s meeting between Man United chief executive David Gill and manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the club released a statement that no decision had been reached on Rooney. With his future in limbo, Manchester United will continue to negotiate a deal that would keep Rooney at Manchester United. But looking at both sides of the bargaining table, I don’t see Rooney backing down especially when nearly all of the cards are stacked against Manchester United and in his favor.

The only two things that Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson going for them in the negotiating is that they have the supporters and press on their side. But when it comes down to money, neither of those are an advantage. Club supporters and the press have been hung out to dry so many times in the past.

Now consider the leverage that Rooney has:

  1. Rooney knows that Manchester City is willing to offer him wages that are substantially more than anything United can offer,
  2. Manchester United doesn’t have limited riches and I don’t believe will be able to offer Rooney a huge increase to get him to sign a new contract,
  3. Rooney can buy out his contract next summer under the Webster ruling for £5 million,
  4. The longer the dispute runs, the more likely it’ll negatively impact Man United’s performances on the pitch.

The above points illustrate how vital it is for Manchester United to either negotiate a new contract with Rooney or to sell him in January for as much as possible. However, Rooney seems unlikely to move to the European continent due to his wife wanting to help his sister-in-law, who has a degenerative disease. So if Rooney stays in England, the number of clubs able to pay his wage demands can be counted on one hand. Manchester City would be the most likely candidate, but United may reject a transfer offer from City for Rooney to ensure that United remains the biggest team in Manchester.

Chelsea would be interested too but if United sold Rooney to the Blues, Manchester United may as well kiss any chance of winning the Premier League title for the next few seasons. Liverpool could try to do a swap deal for Rooney in exchange for Torres, or sign Rooney outright, but Liverpool is Manchester United’s most hated rival, so the chances of a deal happening there are slim.

The only club who could buy Rooney that wouldn’t rock Manchester United’s boat is Tottenham Hotspur. The club is on the rise under Harry Redknapp’s leadership and has no obstacle in its path that would prevent United from doing a deal with them, other than whether Spurs would be willing to pay Rooney’s exorbitant wage demands.

Whatever happens, the advantage is with Rooney. He has Manchester United exactly where he wants them. And if United doesn’t offer a significantly improved contract, Rooney has options elsewhere. Even if Rooney would move from Old Trafford, Manchester United is then forced into a situation of trying to decide whether to accept a princely sum from bitter rivals Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea, or accept a much lower offer from the competitive but relatively harmless Tottenham Hotspur.

No matter which way you look at it, the cards are stacked against Manchester United. And even more worryingly, they’re no longer the financial heavyweights in the Premier League. They’re unable to flex their financial muscle as they’ve done so many times in the past. And that could hint at the slow fall of the United empire, little by little, as each year passes by.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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21 Responses to Why The Cards Are Stacked Against Man Utd And In Favor Of Rooney

  1. SchmidtXC says:

    If Rooney really wants to stay in England, I think it will be Chelsea. If United aren’t big enough for him, Liverpool certainly won’t tempt him. I can’t see Spurs being a realistic option either. City make the most sense financially, but I think Chelsea will still put in a decent offer. I have a feeling United would give the next few titles to Chelsea to make sur City doesn’t get one.

  2. Ryan says:

    Gaffer,

    I respectfully disagree- it’s Man Utd that made Rooney, not the other way around. And as far as marketability- Torres in a United shirt would outsell Rooney in a City shirt any day of the week. Couple brand appeal with a good looking face and you’ve got a winner. I’m sure the same issues were being raised when Beckham left for Madrid. All you United did was go on to become the most valuable franchise in the world.

    If Rooney leaves, he will be the one losing. Mark Hughes, Keane, Ronaldo, Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, Alan Smith, Louis Saha- what did they achieve after leaving United? Not much. In fact, the only one who seems to have benefited his career with a move away was Diego Forlan.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Ryan, I agree with you that Man United made Rooney. But at this point in time, Man United needs Rooney more than Rooney needs United. Regarding Torres, his face would sell shirts, for sure, but I don’t see United doing a transfer swap with Liverpool, their hated rivals.

      I agree that Rooney would be the one to lose if he left. He’d make a ton of money but he would never recapture the potential he had at United.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • ali says:

      i am a liverpool supporter but in this case i totally support sir alex
      rooney thinks he is bigger than the club and the manager
      first sir alex deserves respect

      second i dont think city wud hav him certainly liverpol wudnt

      we may be second bottom but we hav sum self respect
      he is a disgrace to his manager his club and his country

  3. Stacy Richardson says:

    This article fails to address the possibility that Rooney is OVER as a player. Certainly, he hasn’t done anything within the past six months to demonstrate otherwise.

    Also, it’s to United’s advantage to get rid of Rooney because it brings them closer to break-even status. The club is no longer in a position to pay big salaries. The only three clubs in the Premier League who have anything to smile about financially are Chelsea (due to a deep-pocketed owner); Manchester City (for the same reason); and Arsenal (thanks to a prescient frugality); of those three, only Chelsea and City are in a position to spend big.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Hi Stacy, the article discusses the advantages that Rooney has. I don’t think Rooney is over as a player, but he’s definitely on dangerous ground right now depending on what he decides.

      If United gets rid of Rooney, it’ll help them financially in the short term. But in the long term they might drop a couple of places in the league without Rooney to score so many important goals. And if that happens, it’ll be more damaging in the long run for United financially speaking.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Andrei says:

        ” But in the long term they might drop a couple of places in the league without Rooney to score so many important goals.”

        Hmm… Last time I checked EPL standing Untied were sitting with 18 goals scored behind Chelsea with 23. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for them this season. Between Berbatov/Nani/Chicarito and others they got this department just about right. Midfield and backline is where United have been hurting recently. And of course on field leadership.

  4. 007United says:

    Are you serious? Rooney has done nothing since March, No man is bigger than no club especially one of Man united’s stature. Ronaldo was a better player and we survived it, no one player can we by himself and not an out of sorts prositute loving rooney. Personal I hope he goes and crash and Burn so i could laugh in his face the idiot! Who does he think he is? And for all those who think we will suffer, do we not have players scoring????????

  5. jm says:

    Gaffer is not suggesting that Rooney is right, or that he is bigger than the club, or that he will be the big winner here. I think he is making an astute point – namely that United are at a negotiating disadvantage, and that Rooney has a lot of leverage. I think that is broadly right – the number of clubs that United can sell too in the first place (clubs that can afford Rooney) is very small, and then among those are a number of major rivals. They are in a tricky position here – and that’s probably true regardless of whether Rooney is in the right, or whether United is a club that can thrive without him (which I think they can).

    • Miak says:

      This point i do get and accept as valid. It is the statement “The club needs him more than he needs Manchester United” that I believe is bound to evoke emotive reflexive responses.
      By the way, apologies to 007United for saying “brainless response” in my reply to your comment. Upon reflection, I should have written “emotionally driven response,” as that would have perhaps better captured what i had intended to convey. Not taking a shot at you bud.

  6. matt says:

    in case you haven’t noticed it’s been berba and nani doin all the work this year w/o Rooney. the problem is the defence and mid. article is woefully shortsighted. yes. last year Rooney was the horse. but you honestly think they wouldn’t turn around and spend it on a guy like suarez? the squads shortcomings go beyond that but shirt sales really are the least of the problem for the moment

  7. Cricketlover says:

    The one question that no one can answer and one that I think is key to this saga is the state of Rooney’s mind with regards to his family troubles. As long as his personal problems persist I don’t see his form improving. Problems between player and manager or player and the club rarely result in a player’s loss of form. It’s usually because of something else going on in the player’s life. If United believe he will be able to get over his personal problems then I can see them trying their best to keep him as his form will improve and his marketing potential will be intact. But if United feel he is not likely to get over his personal problems soon and that it would be a gamble to keep him then I believe they will sell him in January when they can get a decent fee for him.

    United would be playing a very dangerous game if they decide that they will not sell him to a club like City, or any other club they don’t want to sell to, for if Rooney wants to go there and United refuse, he can wait till the summer and leave for 5 million pounds. Not what United would want.

    I can still see a deal being done that will keep Rooney at United, but it will become more difficult if United fans turn their hatred and anger towards him. At some point it will become a point of no return for Rooney. Again, his state of mind will dictate what happens next.

  8. patrick says:

    Thing is yes, who can afford him.. Spurs really can’t. Harry said as much. Chelsea could but he isn’t really a good fit. Would sell kits though… But in the world of CFC money that’s not a huge issue. Rooney with Drogba? would seem to be more of a dressing room problem in waiting then a sure fire championship. City could afford him, but my goodness he goes on a dry spell he won’t get a sniff of the pitch, and Wayne likes to play. Real is basically poorer then United, and they have a rep of breaking English players… He is not a Barca type player… Italy? Can’t see it personally, but maybe I’m wrong. Team him with De Rossi that would be a classic tale of hot heads… Imagine Rooney playing for Serie A strugglers Roma. as if.
    Germany… umm no
    France? hell no

    Robbie Fowler has tempted Wayne with the challenge of Aussie Soccer with the Perth Glory. some how that sounds about right… banish him to Australia. With all due respect to Aussies.

    and he’s cup tied. so forget anything this season.

  9. soonerscotty says:

    Absolutely reprehensible…those so-called “fans” crossed a line. Can’t believe the cops let them leave after threatening his life. Unbelievable.

    I’m definitely not a Rooney fan but, this is despicable and I don’t blame him for wanting to leave.

  10. JC says:

    I respectfully disagree. I think both parties can have a favorable result from this falling out. Rooney will get paid and so will Man United. Their problems aren’t with their forwards and if anything, Berbatov’s revival has made Rooney expendable.

    They have every reason in the world to keep City as a potential destination even if they have no intent of actually letting him go there. City will drive up his price and ultimately, a fit like Liverpool or Tottenham (or someplace we don’t see coming…Celtic? j/k), for less money, makes sense. I think you make a good case for either team getting him.

  11. Andrei says:

    “He hasn’t been playing anywhere near his potential but when the player is on top of his form, he’s one of the best in the world.”

    I think there are certain things that need to be set stright.

    1. Rooney has been a leader of United for slightly more than a year.
    2. In the period of his leadership the club has failed to win any silverware of significance.
    3. He played like he is one of the best in the world only for 6-7 months in his entire career. Beyond that, he either played a second fiddle to others (e.g. Ronaldo) or was injured or out of form.
    4. He failed to shine anywhere except United (e.g. English national team).

  12. Jason says:

    This article does not tell us that the player is bigger than the team and the club. It just wants to show us it is the vital time to decide which way we should go and which team we should sell him to. As Rooney has a obvious leverage role among this big teams can offer his salary and our United. We can not sell him to City, i prefer to kill him if that happened. No matter which team we will sell to, we will lose some great strength in square and others will be stronger with Rooney. So it will a little better if we can attract more plays for our midfield.

  13. Jacob Awe says:

    This article is straight and understandable but fail to made ascertion on the rudboy grass-root. An unknown streetfighter that’s been trained and mode into one of the power-house by SIR ALEX and MUFC. We don’t need such a bad egg in CFC he may go to city or Madrid or milan but in chelsea, kakuta, josh, borini are better player than roon.

  14. Raj says:

    Rooney has agreed a 5 year new deal to stay at UNITED :) ))

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