Wayne Rooney needs Manchester United more than they need him

What would Wayne Rooney do without Manchester United?

Manchester United's interest in Falcao has seen many jump to conclusions that Wayne Rooney's time in Manchester could be up.

Former United defender Steve Bruce has publicly stated that he expects the opposite, that Rooney has a future at the club regardless of whether the club sign Falcao or not.

Whichever the case, what is clear is that United no longer depend on Rooney as they once did.

When Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez left the club in 2009, the responsibility to drive the club forward fell on the Englishman.

In 2009-10 he was the club's main man - netting more than 30 goals after moving into playing as an out and out centre-forward.

A year later, after the World Cup and revelations in his private life - his relationship with United turned sour, Rooney requested to leave - before making a dramatic U-turn after being offered a £250,000 mega-contract.

United were held to ransom. Without Rooney, they stood to struggle, and they knew it and the player knew it.

Rooney acknowledged that he needed support from other big name signings - and last summer he got it, with the arrival of Robin van Persie.

But is it a case of 'be careful what you wish for?' for Rooney, who now finds himself out of the spotlight and marginalised somewhat - no longer United's main man or goal threat.

He was even dropped for the home leg against Real Madrid, but not only that but the expected media storm blew over in less than 24 hours - almost as though there is an acceptance that Rooney is no longer essential to the club.

Now that, broadly speaking, is a little unfair on England's one-time boy wonder - he has 16 goals and 14 assists for United this season, figures for anybody to be proud of.

But his stature in the team is not what it was, and the arrival of a player like Falcao at the club would diminish it further.

If United did decide to dispense with his services to raise funds, where would he go? City and Chelsea - the two English clubs who could afford him are unlikely to move for him, while a switch abroad is the most likely option.

Rooney would probably see himself back at Everton one day towards the end of his career, but right now it is hard to see him leaving United and taking a big pay cut.

But in footballing terms, Rooney needs United - to maintain his status as one of the world's most admired players.

United don't need Rooney as much as they once did - if he did leave, they would replace him and move on. Life at Old Trafford goes on, it always does.

image: © nasmac

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