Wayne Rooney wants out again.
The English soccer star is determined to leave Manchester United this summer, having told outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson in late April that he is looking for a fresh start, according to the Telegraph.
Ferguson’s response to Rooney was that United would not sell him, and on Wednesday, a United spokesperson said “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”
Rooney reportedly did not submit a formal transfer request, but he could do so in the coming weeks or months if he chooses to.
Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are closely monitoring Rooney’s situation with an eye on launching a transfer bid for him, but they face competition from one of United’s domestic rivals.
“It is understood that Rooney, 27, has no desire to move away from the Premier League and that Chelsea is his most likely destination,” the Telegraph reports.
Interested clubs are expected to bid around £25 million ($38.9 million) to £30 million ($46.7) for the United forward. Chelsea has already made contact with Rooney’s agent and Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich has personally sanctioned a £30 million transfer, according to the Mirror.
Rooney’s future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months, as his status on the team has diminished this season. Ferguson has made Robin van Persie the focal point of the United attack, and he now uses Rooney as a support striker or attacking midfielder instead of playing him closer to the opponents’ goal as in prior campaigns.
Rooney’s role was made clear in early March when Ferguson left him out of the starting lineup in a crucial UEFA Champions League game against Real Madrid. Reports claiming Ferguson had become frustrated with Rooney’s ongoing fitness issues and was ready to sell him dominated the headlines in the days following United’s Champions League exit.
Rooney’s contract expires in 2015, but it is common for players to either sign extensions or face transfers as they approach the final year of their existing deals. He is United’s highest-paid player, reportedly earning £250,000 a week. United officials are thought to be hesitant to continue making such a financial commitment to a player whose best days might be in the past.
Rooney and Ferguson clashed in October 2010 when the star forward requested a transfer, saying United lacked ambition. Ferguson convinced Rooney to sign a new contract five days later. The two were again at odds in December 2011 when Rooney broke curfew and Ferguson benched him in United’s next game.
But Ferguson will retire at the end of May. David Moyes will succeed the legendary United manager, and one of his first tasks as manager will be to address Rooney’s situation. It’s an interesting bit of symmetry, as it was Everton manager Moyes who sold Rooney to United in 2004 for £27 ($40.7 million).
Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.