Wayne Rooney is the glue holding an ailing Manchester United side together at the moment. A club whose stock has fallen considerably under David Moyes, Rooney remains one of the few stars amongst a plethora of mediocrity.
Given his Premier League form it would be a total travesty for United to sell Rooney, especially to one of their close rivals. With 10 goals from 19 appearances this term Rooney has been a stand out figure for his club and someone that they can always rely on when times are tough. A player that can change a game almost single handedly in the blink of an eye, Rooney is by far the best England has to offer and arguably in the top bracket of footballers the world over.
By this reckoning you would expect United to do everything in their power to keep their man at Old Trafford. However, it has recently emerged that Rooney has yet to receive a concrete contract offer from United, and with just 18 months left on his current deal the forward is very much at a cross-roads in his career.
Something has to give soon, United won’t want to run his contract down for fear of selling him for a fraction of his true value in a year or so’s time. The 28 year old is entering the peak of his career and he needs to make a sensible decision about where is best for him to see out these years.
Chelsea made Rooney their number one target over the summer, and were it not for United’s unwillingness to drop their asking price this deal could well have materialised. Caught in a standoff with neither party willing to give much away, talks eventually broke down.
The situation hasn’t changed though; Chelsea still need a striker given Mourinho’s distrust for his current crop of forwards and clearly someone like Rooney fits the bill. Frustrations with the current situation at United and perhaps a perceived lack of commitment from club to tie him down to a new contract; you can see why Rooney might want to leave. In purely footballing terms Chelsea are the better option, guaranteed to be the keystone of their attacking threat and sure to be challenging for honours year in year out, it is the logical move. The issue for Rooney is whether loyalty to his current employers comes into the equation at all.
Aside from Chelsea what are the options?
Rooney deserves to be at one of the top clubs in Europe, and given the recent investment in top strikers there really aren’t that many feasible destinations. In addition there is the question as to whether Rooney would really be that inclined to make a move abroad, for me I just can’t imagine it. So what we are left with are the top Premier League sides, and given that a move across Manchester seems unlikely we are only left with Chelsea and Arsenal.
In reality a move to either club could be justified, but in my opinion West London is the better option. Arsenal is a riskier prospect, is further investment really guaranteed under Wenger? With Chelsea you know what you are getting, and the promise of silverware is compelling. I think it is the safer option and an ideal one at that.
To whatever extent you want to sensationalise United’s decline, it is safe to say that they are no longer one of the top clubs in our league. Rooney may well be jumping ship here, but can you blame him?
A move to Chelsea is the right footballing decision, and unless United make a suitable contract offer, it is one I can see materialising.