Speculation over the future of the Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney has intensified – despite the fact that no-one wants to talk about it.
The 24-year-old striker’s current deal runs out in 2012 and it is being reported that he’s refusing to sign a contract extension – leading to speculation that he could leave the club in January.
Rooney’s relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after he contradicted the club’s manager while on England duty – saying he had not had an injured ankle.
“I think the big man will persuade him to stay.” Jose Mourinho
Rooney was left on the bench at the weekend for United’s 2-2 draw with West Brom, taking to the pitch with just 20 minutes remaining.
The England striker also missed United’s Premier League fixture at Everton last month amid allegations about his private life.
Rooney and his wife Coleen issued a statement asking the media to respect their privacy, saying it was impossible to “resolve any issues in the current media glare”.
A range of clubs – including Real Madrid, Chelsea and even United’s bitter rivals, Manchester City, have been linked with Rooney.
The Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho – who has been touted as a possible successor to Sir Alex as United manager, said he did not believe that Rooney would leave.
“I think the big man will persuade him to stay,” he said.
And the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, refused to say whether Arsenal would be interested in a deal with Rooney.
“What I make of it is that I have enough problems here not to be involved in that,” said the Gunners boss, speaking ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk at Emirates Stadium.
“We are not in a transfer period at all.
“We are in front of a big Champions League game and for us it is very important to focus on that.”
‘No way back’
The Sports Editor of the Manchester Evening News, Peter Spencer, told Channel 4 News that he believed there was “no way back” for Rooney.
An apology was unlikey as was the club allowing his contract to run out, so a sale was the most likely, he said.