Was Rooney just after a better contract all along?

Wayne Rooney

Former Chelsea and France defender Marcel Desailly asserted his belief on Tuesday night that Wayne Rooney was only after a new contract with Manchester United, following his sensational display in the Red Devils’ 4-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

The England number 10 has been the subject of a summer transfer saga after he verbally requested a transfer in May prior to the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and a long and drawn out summer sideshow ensued as Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho ardently tried to lure him to Stamford Bridge.

All summer long, new manager David Moyes along with chief executive Ed Woodward insisted Wayne Rooney would not be sold and in the end, he wasn’t.

Flash forward to September and Rooney’s performance against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday evening was simply sublime – he was the best player on the pitch, much as he had been in the weekend’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace and, prior to that, in United goalless draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford last month.

"I wasn't really sure he wanted to make a move to Chelsea. I think it is more business, than a desire to move from the club,” explained Desailly.

"Three years ago he was very clever telling the club that he wants to move to Manchester City. The club have allowed him to get the biggest salary and sign a new contract.”

"This time I think they have tried again - it is business, they play the game and try to earn more,” he added.

The Blues legend is exactly right that Rooney did pull the very same ‘clever’ tactic back in 2010 when he signed his current deal with United worth £250,000 a week and I had suspected and asserted earlier on in the summer that he may well be pulling the same routine again this time.

I didn’t, however, expect Manchester United to humour him this time around – I thought when Ferguson retired and revealed Rooney’s ‘transfer request’ that the club would surely not abide his antics once more but it would appear as if the England striker has pulled the wool over the club’s eyes and the cat out the bag again as United are expected to offer him a new and improved deal this season, with his current contract expiring in 2015.

Did he ever really want to leave United? Well, Jose Mourinho certainly seemed to be under the impression he did – the Blues boss must have got that idea from somewhere. I just wonder whether Mourinho feels like he’s been used as a tool to force the club to improve Rooney contract offer?

Agents have used such tactics before to get their clients better deals – inform rival clubs that the player is on the move, instigate a transfer tug-of-war to put the wind up the client’s club, enough that they increase their contract offer.

Those are the same agents to call their friend in the press and fabricate stories of ‘interest’ from other clubs to ‘put the feelers out’ on who might actually be interested – it looks as though Jose Mourinho has been used as a pawn in Wayne Rooney’s game of chess with Manchester United.

image: © nasmac

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