Would Manchester United like a 16 goal and 15 assist striker?

Wayne Rooney Volley

If so, then the Red Devils would be advised to keep Wayne Rooney rather than sell him.

Wayne Rooney's Manchester United future has been thrown into doubt after the revelations this week which stated he handed in a transfer request even before Sir Alex Ferguson announced he would retire.

The appointment of his replacement, David Moyes, a man who he shares a chequered history with thanks to his stint at Everton and later autobiography, has only served to cloud the issue further.

While United are said to have refused his request, a substantial section of United supporters are fed up with Rooney's actions and would happily trade him away providing the club strengthen.

Rooney's latest frustration seemed to begin with him being left out in the Champions League home tie against Real Madrid, with Robin van Persie taking the mantle of main man in attack.

After Rooney's previous transfer request and demand that United sign big stars, it is a little ironic that the player himself has been the loser when the pack has been shuffled.

But despite the frustration on the part of supporters with Rooney's said actions, fans should not forget what he has contributed to the team this season.

As our headline states, Rooney has bagged 16 goals and provided 15 assists in 2012/13, of which one goal and five assists came in the Champions League.

In the Premier League there has been a marked dip in his goalscoring, for he has 12 goals to his name in the competition this season, when he netted 27 last season.

This can be attributed to Robin van Persie usurping him from the main striker's role, forcing Rooney to play deeper, and also taking penalty duty away from the Englishman.

So while he has not been as prolific, his role in the team has changed, and United and their fans must also realise that they would be a weaker squad without him.

It has been said that Rooney leaving would allow Shinji Kagawa time to flourish, but Rooney's productivity is proven and the Japanese signing may yet fail to fully adapt to the Premier League.

Rooney has hit crucial winners this season over Southampton and Fulham, while his two goals in the 3-2 win at the Etihad were largely forgotten amid the euphoria of Robin van Persie's injury-time winner.

There have been moments where Rooney has looked woeful, from the start of the season away to Everton, to a terrible performance at Swansea's Liberty Stadium in December, and even recently in the 2-2 draw at West Ham.

Yet these are likely symptoms of Rooney's lack of focus and desire to leave, and while it can be said that if the striker wants out, then simply let him go; his immense talent when it is clicking is one that David Moyes would be foolish to try not to harness and simply discard.

Rooney feels under-appreciated, and the naturally upset reaction of the fans in relation to his transfer request will not help matters between the two parties, but if United were sensible, they would keep him rather than sell him, for there is a reason clubs of the calibre of Bayern Munich and Barcelona have been linked with his signature - which is on his day, he simply is that good.

image: © nasmac

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch