The 27-year-old Englishman has been completely outshone by Robin van Persie this term and he’s, understandably, less than enthused by the prospect of spending another season in the Dutchman’s shadow.
However, his form and fitness hasn’t been up to scratch this term and, as Sir Alex Ferguson retired, he rightly pointed out that a fit and in-form Wayne Rooney would have made more than his 27 appearances in the Premier League this term.
Rooney played a full 90 minutes for Ferguson on just 13 occasions this season – he was withdrawn to the bench 9 times and substituted on 5 times – he still managed to scored 12 league goals and notch up 10 assists but that’s nowhere near his tallies from previous seasons.
Considering that Rooney has been United’s star striker for almost a decade since his move from Everton back in 2004, it’s no surprise that he’s a little uncomfortable playing ‘second-fiddle’ to Van Persie who completely stole the show and, along with it, the limelight previously reserved for Rooney.
On top of that Rooney’s role within the team has changed – when he has played, he’s been deployed as an attacking midfielder behind Van Persie, operating as a playmaker rather than a centre-forward.
He outlined recently that he is ‘definitely a centre-forward’ – he wants to be a striker as he has been regarded his entire career and he’ll likely have to leave Old Trafford is he wants to play in his preferred position next term.
The question is, however, if United sell Rooney, do they need to replace him with another striker or with an attacking midfielder?
At present, Moyes inherits a strike force that consists of Van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck and recent developments in the Bundesliga mean United could even have a shot at signing Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund.
But do they really need another striker? If the Dutch ace enjoys the same form and fitness he has for the past two seasons, they’d have little requirement for a striker – as Rooney found out the hard way this season.
What United really need is a playmaker to replace Paul Scholes once and for all – they’ve been linked with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Luka Modric, Angel Di Maria and Thiago Alcantara – any one of those players could come in to add creativity to David Moyes’ midfield which, without Scholes and potentially Rooney, would rely far too heavily on Shinji Kagawa for imagination.
Whilst Wayne Rooney is busy imagining a future elsewhere, United ought to be imagining a future without their star attacking midfielder too – they don’t really need another star striker.
image: © nasmac