Reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona are now interested in Manchester United’s unsettled striker Wayne Rooney. The 27-year-old’s future has been up for speculation since the end of last season when Sir Alex revealed that Rooney wishes to leave Old Trafford. Recent reports suggests that Rooney is unhappy at the fact that Sir Alex decided to publicly disclose that the striker is unsettled and he is worried that he will now face a backlash from the fans. But things are stacked against the Rooney presently; the fact that this is not for the first time he has expressed his desire to leave (although the transfer request back then was mostly credited to his inexperience, an excuse which is invalid now) will be held against him.
Rooney is believed to be unhappy with the way Sir Alex has used him last season. Robin van Persie’s arrival at the club meant that Rooney was no longer the focal point in the attack and he was often asked to play a supporting role to the Dutchman. What was evident last season was perhaps the fact that Rooney is no longer indispensable for the club, as Sir Alex even left him on the bench on the eve of big matches. Rooney wants to play upfront – as the main striker – not in the midfield or out wide, although Sir Alex thought otherwise. This is believed to be the main source of frustration for the England international.
Arsenal, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid have been linked with Rooney and reports suggest that Arsenal have already failed with an initial offer for him. David Moyes’ most challenging job since taking over at the club would have been to sort out the future of their talismanic striker. Moyes in his first press conference as the United manager has recently insisted that Rooney will remain at Old Trafford and is not up for sale. But if the England international pushes for move away from the club, which looks likely, United would look to sell him abroad instead of strengthening their direct rivals Chelsea or Arsenal.
There aren’t many clubs who can afford Wayne Rooney or are interested in him outside England. PSG were initially linked with him, but the French club are now close to completing their move for Edinson Cavani, which rules them out of making any further bid for the Englishman. Real Madrid’s interests have also gone off the boil as Luis Suarez seems to be their primary aim at the moment. But Barcelona have now entered this race and are determined to add him to their ranks.
So one could question – why do Barcelona need Wayne Rooney?
The Catalan giants are not known to be playing with too many proper strikers in recent times with Lionel Messi being the fulcrum of the attack – something which is considered to be the cause of David Villa’s exit. Villa had not been a regular in the starting eleven and has been played out of position. Now with the arrival of Neymar, competition for places have increased as both the South American superstars are expected to start in the front three.
But it is believed that Rooney is being targeted by the Catalan club to add a new dimension to their attack. Barcelona have often been undone by sides who have played physical football (i.e Real Madrid, Inter) and Wayne Rooney is expected to ‘beef up’ the attack – literally. Rooney will be a welcome contrast to the fine, yet light-weight at times, attackers that Barcelona have in their ranks. Moreover, Rooney boasts of brilliant work-rate and stamina, which means he will be able to adapt to Barcelona’s high pressing game upfront. The striker has developed the defensive side of the game over the years to go along with his robust physique.
So a front three of Neymar, Messi and Rooney does look enticing on paper. But it would be interesting to see if Rooney agrees to join Barcelona knowing very well that he is unlikely to get a chance to play through the middle, something which was a cause for his concerns at United under Sir Alex in the recent past. Rooney can play as a wide forward, but it is clear that he wants to play more centrally.
The swap deal
What plays into Barcelona’s hand in this deal is the fact that Manchester United are desperate to land Thiago Alcantara. Although Barcelona would have ideally wanted Thiago to stay, the Spaniard is believed to have already made up his mind about joining the English club.
Recent reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona are now willing to offer Thiago Alcantara to Manchester United in a swap deal for Wayne Rooney. Thiago Alcantara will cost United €18 million. Which means Barcelona will only have to pay €12 million in cash, along with Thiago, to meet the €30 million reported valuation of Wayne Rooney.
Either way, it looks unlikely that Wayne Rooney will be a part of this new era at Old Trafford, much like Paul Scholes. The United legend, who hung up his boots along with Sir Alex Ferguson, has turned down an offer to join David Moyes’ coaching staff. Scholes’ former team mates Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs however have accepted Moyes’ offer and will now be the part of his coaching team. Moyes revealed that Scholes wanted to spend time with his family as of now, hence he has rejected his offer to join him, but he expressed his delight at being able to add Giggs and Neville.
“I wanted to make sure I had connections to what happened here. I spoke to Paul Scholes as well. He wants to have some time off with his family.
“Paul was fantastic with me and wanted to help a lot. I probably spent an hour or two on the phone with him. He wants to spend time with his family at the moment. We’ll bring him in when he’s ready.
“I also spoke with Rene [Meulensteen] but he wanted to move on. So then the obvious choice was Ryan.
“He’s an incredible footballer. To get him and Phil Neville together. I wanted to make sure I had some young members of staff behind me as well.” – The Manchester United manager told the press.
Manchester United will play their first match under David Moyes when they take on Singha All Star XI in the pre-season tour next week. It will be a precursor of things to come at Old Trafford next season under his new regime.