Did Manchester United strike a £70m deal with their biggest problem?

Wayne Rooney 2014

Was the record deal Manchester United agreed with Wayne Rooney a huge mistake?

Manchester United committed their future to Wayne Rooney last month, when really it should have been the other way around.

But as the Englishman signed a record £300,000 per week contract, worth an estimated £70 million, you can't help but feel as though the club are more dependent on him being successful than vice versa.

With the club leveraged on debt, and set to miss out on the Champions League for one season at least, it's a huge, crazy amount to offer to any player - perhaps best described as desperate.

But there would be few complaining had Cristiano Ronaldo been brought in on that kind of money, even with a hefty transfer fee - because he would be guaranteed to improve the side.

As for Wayne Rooney, he has shown this season he is not capable of arresting United's dramatic slide - and against Liverpool he simply blended into a maelstrom of mediocrity, which encapsulated the whole side. Special players should be able to stop this, especially on home turf in a big game.

Gone are the days Rooney was mentioned in the same breath as the world's greats; his Euro 2004 heroics now a decade ago.

Perhaps importantly though, Rooney is a very good player despite the above concerns, but he's just simply the wrong one for United to have focused their future on.

Now along with reservations about other star players and new signings wanting parity in terms of payment as Rooney, from a tactical perspective in the short-term at least, can be argued holds his teammates back from flourishing.

A lack of quality link up between himself and Robin van Persie has been all too evident this season, while his insistence on playing as a playmaker has also rendered Shinji Kagawa surplus to requirements.

New signing Juan Mata meanwhile feels his best position is behind a striker, and was ineffective out wide once again at the weekend. With Rooney at the club, it's hard to work out when he will get a sustained run in the centre.

Adnan Januzaj too looked bright earlier in the season in the role, so if Rooney had been permitted to leave and not offered a new contract, there is not a lot to say United would have struggled to find replacements.

Possible answers to the tactical conundrum include Rooney pushing out wide, which has been proved a waste of his talent previously, a deeper midfield role, which has been trialled with limited success before - or moving up front - but Robin van Persie's pledge to stay keeps Rooney in behind for now.

It's a puzzle David Moyes needs to find a way to solve, but when the the club are paying such incredible amounts to Wayne Rooney, it's fair to ask if it would have been better if they sold him abroad, and re-invested the money in players better suited to bringing the best out of the other players in the squad.

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