Wayne Rooney’s career has reached a crossroads, a crossroads the star striker was never supposed to reach.
Having arrived at this critical stage where will the next chapter in the Wayne Rooney story take us?
This season Rooney has been moved around the pitch to accommodate other players and been dropped for big games when previously he would’ve been one of the first names on the Manchester United team sheet.
He was left out of the forward line in the second leg against Real Madrid in favour of Wellbeck and Nani; left out of the F.A Cup quarter final against Chelsea; has been replaced at centre forward by Robin Van Persie; moved out wide to accommodate Shinji Kagawa and moved into centre midfield at times.
This is the same player who lit up Euro 2004 as a powerful centre forward and developed into the most naturally gifted English player of his generation.
The same player who prior to the 2010 World Cup was being spoken of in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo.
The same player who questioned the ambition of Manchester United and instead of being shown the door was given a new contract making him the highest paid player at the club.
A massive concession at the time for Sir Alex Ferguson, under normal circumstances such a statement from a player would result in a sharp exit from the club.
Ferguson’s view at the time was to keep his best player and build a team around him, now Rooney isn’t even United’s best striker and is being used to plug holes around the team instead of being its focal point.
This has apparently left Rooney feeling disillusioned with life at Old Trafford and he has asked for a transfer for the second time in three years.
With two years left on his current contract a decision will have to be made by new Man Utd manager David Moyes, whether to offer Rooney a new deal or to sell him now to ensure a big fee is recouped.
At 27 Rooney still has a lot to offer but given some of his recent performances and doubts over his fitness any new contract at Old Trafford is likely to be on reduced terms from the reported £250,000 a week he currently receives.
The problem Rooney has if he does want to leave is where does he go? In 2010 when he asked to leave the biggest clubs in Europe were on alert.
Now the list of clubs who would pay his wages and a sizeable transfer fee, which have a team Rooney could improve, is a short one.
It is unlikely that Man Utd would want to sell to another Premiership team, the two teams who could afford such a transfer are Chelsea and Manchester City and both are likely to challenge United for the league next season.
Rooney has not been performing at the level which would interest the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.
They have better options in their current squad and the money involved is too big to spend on a squad player.
Perhaps the most likely option is P.S.G who appear undeterred by financial fair play and will be in the market for a couple of marquee signings in the summer.
Would Rooney really want to leave the Premiership to play in Ligue 1? At a club who is all but certain to win the league and would have probably as much chance of winning the Champions League as Man Utd.
In his 9 years at United Rooney has scored 197 goals, which is only 52 behind the club’s all-time leading scorer Sir Bobby Charlton, trying to beat that record must be a great incentive for the England striker to stay at Old Trafford.
With a new manager at Old Trafford and a lack of options for Rooney perhaps the most likely outcome is for him to see the new manager as a new challenge to go and prove himself all over again.
Moyes would be loathed to let a player like Rooney go whatever the circumstances and if Rooney can come to terms with not being at the top of the pecking order anymore a Manchester United stay on reduced terms may not be as unlikely as reports have suggested.
What does the future hold for Wayne Rooney?
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