How much is Wayne Rooney actually worth?

According to reports Wayne Rooney could depart from Old Trafford this summer after the English striker handed in a transfer request to Manchester United.

Club chief executive David Gill stated last week that he firmly believes Rooney will still be playing for United next term but could the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid or Arsenal be prepared to call his bluff this summer.

According to The Mirror last week French champions PSG are prepared to make an incredible £100 million bid to test the Red Devils’ resolve over the 27-year-old this summer.

Other sources claim that Arsenal are interested in luring Rooney to the Emirates and recent reports suggest Real Madrid are still interested in adding him to their squad.

Wherever he ends up playing football next season, Wayne Rooney is still one of the finest talents in the game but exactly how much is he worth? Firstly, how much is he worth to United given his recent behaviour on and off the field and, secondly how much is he worth to potential buyers?

When Rooney moved from his boyhood club Everton back in 2004 he was hailed as the most exciting prospect in England and Sir Alex Ferguson paid a premium subsequently – he cost United £25.6 million but he just 19 years of age then and United, effectively, paid for his potential as well as his ability then.

Now, almost a decade later, Rooney has arguably reached his peak – he had probably his best season of his career to date back in 2009/10 when he scored 34 goals in all competitions, matched again by his tally in 2011/12 last season before the arrival of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.

His ability is not the issue – he is an exceptionally gifted footballer and one of the most dangerous strikers on the continent – but the arrival of Van Persie has seen him moved out of his preferred position up front and his form, confidence and fitness have suffered as a result.

He’s performed very well as an attacking midfielder this term – striker turned playmaker – but his time spent on the bench has likely been the cause of his discontent at United.

He is at a crossroads in his career – at 27 he has probably around 5 years at the highest level left in him, give or take a year, and if he wants to play as an out-and-out striker regularly he may have to leave United.

The other cause for concern is that his current contract expires in 2015 – he enters the final year of his current deal in just over a year’s time and for such a prized asset, Manchester United are understandably compromised by his recent transfer request.

They will want to sort this contract mess out sooner rather than later to avoid losing such a valuable player for nothing two years down the line. But I doubt it will ever reach that stage – his recent antics may well make the club decide enough is enough – he’s worth a lot of money now. Plus his haggling over his wages is a concern – he currently earns £250,000 a week.

For clubs like Real Madrid and PSG that wouldn’t be an issue but for United that deal smashed their previous wage structure and they can’t really afford to pay much more without restructuring their wage bill once again.

In terms of prospective clubs like PSG a big name like Rooney is worth a lot in commercial revenue – the draw of a world-class name like his puts bums on seats, as they say, never mind the merchandise sales and sponsorship deals. That surely has to be taken into account.

However, his value will have decreased since he handed in a transfer request earlier this month – he basically announced to the world ‘I want to leave Manchester United’ which weakens United’s hand when haggling over his transfer.

That will only be compounded by his contract concerns and, whilst Gill maintains that he will stay, I believe that may well just be the club posturing to squeeze the most out of a potential transfer.

How much is Wayne Rooney worth? Well, a bid of £100 million would surely be enough to settle it but I would imagine United would offload him for around half that fee. His age, his behaviour and attitude, his contract, his wages and his recent form all taken into account Wayne Rooney is not worth more than £50 million.

Considering United just paid £24.5 million for Van Persie, twice that figure for Rooney seems excessive, never mind four times that amount but, if PSG are willing to spend spend spend, United will be laughing all the way to the bank.

images: © jubei kibagami, © nasmac

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