Manchester United: Is it time for Moyes to cash in on Rooney?
They say you should never write off Manchester United, but having suffered their sixth league defeat of the season and been knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea on Sunday, I think it's fair to say that United have about as much chance of retaining the Premier League as Tom Cleverly has of actually controlling a ball.
In fact, David Moyes faces a battle to even finish in the top four with the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Spurs all currently above them.
United's poor start has set the alarm bells ringing at Old Trafford and the future of their star players has been called into question. None more so than striker Wayne Rooney. The former Everton man was linked with a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, as a rift with Sir Alex Ferguson was reported, but Rooney denied such talk and remained at the Theatre of Dreams. But with only 18 months left on his contract, will Wayne Rooney be happy with possibly not playing Champions League football next season?
The big players crave the big stage - and Rooney is no different. He left his boyhood team in order to fulfill his potential as a player and the plethora of honours won under Sir Alex has justified that brave decision.
It's sometimes easy to forget that Rooney has been at United for a decade. Fergie shelled out £25.6 million for the 17-year-old and it has proved to be money well spent. The England ace, on course to break Sir Bobby Charlton's goalscoring records for both club and country, has won five Premier League titles, the Champions League and the League Cup. The only honour to have evaded him so far is the FA Cup.
However, United will need an amazing transformation in the second half of the season to ensure Rooney is gracing Europe's top competition come August.
Some critics believe that Rooney should remain at Old Trafford as he owes the club something. I'm sorry, but Rooney owes United nothing. He has given the club 10 years of fantastic service and presented the fans with some magical memories. Rooney wants to be playing at the highest level with top class players, something which has been lacking at United over the past few seasons - RVP aside. Remember, Rooney is a driven player. He left Everton, the club he truly loves, to join United. He has no emotional attachment to the club, so leaving Old Trafford would be easy.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his admiration of Rooney and his shot-shy strikers may force the Special One dip into the market this month to improve his attacking options. Snatching Rooney would put the Blues firmly in the driving seat for the title. Some even believe it would ensure they won the league.
But why would United want to lose Rooney, especially to one of their biggest rivals? It makes no sense to sell your best player at all. Look at Arsenal. Over the past decade they have sold their best players repeatedly and failed to claim any silverware. Of course they had to repay the stadium and balance the books, but every summer they would flog their star man, leaving the fans and the players left behind feeling deflated. It also made it harder for them to attract the big name players until Ozil came along.
However, United risk losing Rooney for nothing and if they aren't in the Champions League then what would be there to encourage Rooney to remain?
I very much doubt that Rooney will be on the move this month. United have a much greater chance of making the top four with him in the side than without. It would be one of the biggest shock ever if he did pack his bags and move now, but there's a growing feeling that Rooney will be on his way after the World Cup.
It makes financial sense to cash in on Rooney. Unfortunately it won't make David Moyes's rebuilding job any easier. The Scot has found it hard enough to attract players to United as it is without letting his star names leave too. And who would Moyes buy to fill the void?
These are worrying times for United fans and failure to reach the top four could be a disaster, on and off the pitch.
Calling all United fans: Would you cash in on Rooney now or the summer? Would you keep Rooney and run down his contract or would you rather sell him and recoup something? Do you think United have any chance of convincing Rooney to sign a new deal? Who can Moyes add to the squad this month? Do you still have faith in the new boss? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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