Despite the rumours linking Rooney with a move, United may have just made it very clear he is staying...
So much for all those Wayne Rooney to here-there-and-everywhere stories; it now seems the England forward is staying exactly where he is.
Because there is proof…or at least, there is ‘proof’. It was revealed yesterday, on Manchester United’s own website in fact.
Not a statement, just a picture – of the 27-year-old looking pretty happy in the new United kit.
Actually he looked like he was pretending to be a plane, flying through a worrying amount of red smoke. And the picture may have had a bit of work done. Okay, a lot of work done. But the fact that Rooney was used in the launch of the club’s new home shirt proves he will be wearing it next season. Doesn’t it?
Wasn’t it Arsenal’s failure to include Cesc Fabregas in the launch of their 2011/2012 kit that turned the rumours into facts?
That the Gunners captain was overlooked as a model that day cranked up the speed on all those wagging tongues, and less than two months later he signed for Barcelona.
Yes, Rooney came out this week to say he was a striker not a midfielder. But where was the surprise in that? He is a striker?
That he felt the need to clarify didn’t push him nearer the exit door, as some media outlets suggested. It just reasserted that David Moyes has a player desperate to be allowed to score goals; and my sense is that he will be given the chance to score plenty next season.
The fact that the pictures accompanying United’s kit launch were completely digitised meant that Rooney and his teammates didn’t even pose for them; not there anyway. Previous memories were resurrected to preach the club’s underlying message: ‘To be continued…’
The fact that United can release a multi-million-pound product, modelled by a digital version of Rooney et al, goes a long way to explaining the negotiating power top players have when it comes to image rights. But the player’s absence from a traditional photo-shoot should not be taken as a sign of an imminent departure.
That the club used him along with stalwarts Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Michael Carrick, star-man Robin van Persie and shining lights from the next generation in Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck, said only one thing – the club sees him as integral, no matter how undervalued he may have felt by the end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.
It wasn't even as if he was just chosen for being there, a shirt thrown in his direction followed by a request for him to pose. The marketing campaign was carefully planned, with Rooney picked out as one of its main faces.
The rumours won't stop. But perhaps now they should.
Moyes is his own man. And you sense he knows that a fired-up Rooney – with plenty to prove both to a manager just in post and one now departed – could be a very effective weapon for the champions.
So what do you think? Will Rooney stay at United? And how important is he to their future?
image: © nasmac