Manchester United: Should club do all it takes to keep Rooney at Old Trafford?
They say nobody is bigger than the team - but Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is coming awfully close to achieving it.
Contract talks between the club and the England international are currently taking place with reports suggesting that Rooney will pocket a cool £300,000 a week and be kept fully informed of the manager's transfer policy. But are United prepared to give Rooney whatever he wants in a bid to keep him at Old Trafford?
We all know that the Evertonian is vital to United's future success. No matter what you think of him as a person, Rooney the player is phenomenal. He covers every blade of grass on the pitch, his determination is second to none and he just hates losing. The past few months will have been hard for him, as David Moyes has struggled to find his feet at the Theatre of Dreams, but Rooney looks set to repay the club by not walking out at the first sign of trouble.
However, from the outside it looks as though United are kind of begging Rooney to stay. They are willing to throw money at him and let him have a say on matters that normally only a manager and chief executive would be privileged to.
Is Rooney really worth the effort?
Remember this is the player who threatened to walk out during the 2010/11 season after questioning the club's ambition. Sir Alex Ferguson also claimed that Rooney asked to leave last season, although the player has never confirmed or denied that. Rooney is also the player who has shamed the club by sleeping with hookers, been spotted smoking late night in the street and urinating in public.
However, Rooney is a star name and has the ability to attract other top names to the club. You just have to look at what Juan Mata said about Rooney following his arrival at Old Trafford.
United will always be a stronger side with Rooney in the team. He can do anything with the ball and inspire team-mates to raise their game. Unlike some millionaire players, Rooney will play through the pain barrier to do the thing that he loves - and will play in any position to help out the team.
Some may describe Rooney's worth to the team as priceless. Others would rather let him go in the summer and use his wages to rebuild the squad.
With the title out of their hands - and having been knocked out of both the FA Cup and Capital One cup - United only have a place in the top four and the Champions League to play for, and they face a huge battle on their hands to secure Champions League football for next season.
Most critics believed that Rooney would be off in the summer if United failed to qualify for the Champions League. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, a long-term admirer of the striker, even said Rooney would leave United, but that Chelsea would not be his destination.
United fans will have been pleasently surprised with the revelation that contract talks with Rooney have begun, as the player could walk away for free in 18 months time.
But just how much should the club offer Rooney in order to keep him at Old Trafford?
One thing's for sure, Sir Alex wouldn't stand for Rooney's meddling in transfer dealings. In fact Rooney wouldn't be anywhere near the club if the Scot was still in charge.
But this is David Moyes's team now and he needs all the help he can get. Rooney is a top class player and wants to have a glittering trophy cabinet at the end of his career. His sole interest is to win. The money helps, but winning is all he really cares about. If United can match his ambition then there's no reason for him to leave.
But just how much influence should he be allowed to have on team affairs?
Calling all United fans: Should United bend over backwards to keep Rooney happy or should they cash in on their star asset in the summer and rebuild the squad? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.
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