Here come the sceptics and cynics, because what else are we supposed to do with the news that Wayne Rooney has flown back to England due to a “hamstring injury”?

For most players, the news of a pre-season injury isn’t worth much. Look at the news, if you can be bothered, then ball it up and throw it out. It’s a nothing story used to pass the time. Rooney, however, has been at the centre of a transfer saga – yes, another one – that only looks to be concluding with him leaving Manchester United this summer.

And here’s the thing: United could have done a better job of covering this one up. Although could they? We in the football world are quite sharp. We’ll peel the onion on anything thrown at us and watch it morph into all manner of outrageous gossip.

The Rooney injury, specifically for Arsenal fans, is very familiar. Cesc Fabregas suffered the exact same injury a few weeks prior to his move to Barcelona in 2011. It looks like another chance for history to lazily repeat itself. It also plays hand-in-hand with David Moyes’ admission that Rooney isn’t for sale – because we’re really going to take that at face value. The United manager would do well to beef up the transfer fee should Rooney depart this summer, and adding comments about his work ethic in training and his overall ability is going to do just that.

The other thing we could do, and maybe should, is take this for what it likely is – an injury that arose at an unfortunate time (is there a fortunate time to pick up an injury?). Rooney will be linked with a move to either Chelsea or Arsenal until the end of the transfer window, or, of course, until he makes the switch. Though it’s worth questioning whether there was anything on the cards at this time as the player actually travelled with the United squad to the Far East. Though once again we’re drawn to the legitimacy of the injury as Rooney was said to be in the best shape he’s been in for a long time ahead of a new season. Speculation, gossip and the need for anything substantial.

Supporters, however, have been burned far too many times to take the innocent side of this story and run with it. Even with an injury, isn’t there some value in Rooney staying abroad with the manager and the squad? The doctors and club physios would be present and yet the turnaround back to England seemed rather abrupt. Its further fuel to the fire, and the likelihood is that something develops from this. From United’s perspective, moving on an unsettled player should be the priority.

Is Rooney’s injury an indicator of an impending transfer?

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