Tabloid reports indicate a mammoth contract could be handed to Manchester United superstar in order to stave off interest from Chelsea - but is he worth it?
Tabloid reports, led by The Mirror, suggest Manchester United hope to convince powerful English striker Wayne Rooney to commit his peak years to the Stretford rebuilding project by offering a four year extension to his current deal, a pay-rise up to £300,000 per week and access to insider's information regarding manager David Moyes' priority transfer targets.
If Rooney signs the prospective contract, the striker will net an astonishing £70.2m should he remain at Old Trafford until the likely expiration date of 2018. It is a handsome wage and akin to the salaries of an exclusive band of elite footballers, however, would Wayne really remain at the club for at least four more years especially when he has twice attempted - or at least seemingly threatened to - engineer a high-profile exit?
If Rooney were to agree personal terms to a contract that runs until the summer of 2018, he will be paid for 234 weeks worth of football. Considering he is 28-years-old, it could be argued he is about to peak and then may dip toward the latter period of the deal, averaging an attacking efficiency at his current rate (data taken from his past 18 months of play) of 14 goals and 18 assists from 30 matches in all competitions over the next four years.
As well as combating potential problems like having to treat Rooney as the 'star' when Moyes has Robin van Persie, has recruited Juan Mata and is linked with top talents such as Paul Pogba, Ross Barkley, Edinson Cavani and Diego Costa, questions would be asked over whether Rooney is deserving of that status.
There is also the issue of whether he can complete a full season as, last term, he was hampered by a succession of alternative problems such as flesh wound, a knee injury, a groin strain while having a calf complaint and then a complicated groin injury in the current campaign.
If the above was used to estimate Rooney's goal and assist return over the next four and a half years, he would compete in 135 matches, scoring 63 times (becoming the club's top goalscorer in the process with a haul of 271, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton's collection of 249) and assisting on 81 occasions.
In financial terms, United would effectively be paying Rooney £520,000 for every game or £487,500 for every time he affects the scoreline in a positive manner (scores a goal or creates an assist).
According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Rooney is valued at £39.5m. In truth, he would not fetch that sum in the current market, due to his current contract expiring in 2015, but even if he were to fetch £30m, that is still a sizable addition to the £70m budgeted for his contract.
Would that £100m be better spent elsewhere? Is a goal really worth £487,500 if the shot, or goal-scoring opportunity, is dispatched from Rooney's boot?
Of the reported, or viable, alternatives to Rooney - players who United have at least already been linked to - Atletico Madrid superstar Diego Costa, for instance, may prove a more affordable - and more effective - alternative.
Consensus suggests that Costa has a release clause of £32m and, considering his approximate weekly wage is £60,000 per week at the Vicente Calderon, he could feasibly be lured by the pull of United alone, regardless of a £100,000 per week promise (or £23,400,000 over four and a half years).
Three years younger than Rooney, Costa is only going to get better under the right tutelage and so prudent estimates would dictate that he could at least maintain his current rate of scoring - Costa has already featured in 29 competitive matches for Atleti, returning 23 goals and four assists.
He could, therefore, easily break the 40-game barrier, scoring or providing a 36 goal/assist combination. Over four and a half years that's 162 goals and assists from 180 games in all competitions or, from the perspective of the club's accountants, £144,444 paid for every goal/assist returned.
A £144,444 price per goal scored at the elite level may seem exorbitant but, when studying the figures effectively charged by other great strikers in world football, it is actually fair.
During a recent study on Here Is The City*, Manchester City were found to be paying Sergio Aguero £157,575 for every goal he scores or assist he creates, Cristiano Ronaldo's contributions are more expensive at £260,000 each, while Lionel Messi would take £223,600 if his contract was adjudged per goal rather than per week.
Considering the stark difference between the value of a Rooney goal and that of an estimated Costa goal, wouldn't United be wise to perhaps cash in on the Englishman in the summer? Even with a replacement (using Costa as an example again) there could still be £50m that could go toward fortifying other, more problematic, areas of the pitch such as defensive recruitment.
*Figures taken from contractual earnings alone and not inclusive of transfer fees.
image: © joncandy