Blind-sided Manchester United executives have confirmed Wayne Rooney’s desire to leave. The public situation is untenable. Selling him now is the only way to get full value. He’s likely off in January. If Rooney stays firm, the question is not whether Man United should sell him but how they should replace him.
The direct route is to buy another striker. There is supposed interest in Fernando Torres. Liverpool is in disarray. Torres would have left last summer, had he been healthy. Though, a sale between archenemies Liverpool and Manchester United would be tricky. There would also be questions from United about whether Torres can recover his peak form and from Torres about whether he wants to move laterally into a potentially worse situation. Some “cheaper” options thrown around are Ajax’ Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema.
United could also redirect the money into midfield. The 1990’s teams were built on a powerful, driving midfield with Keane, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham. The current crew is anything but. A player such as Everton’s Marouane Fellaini might be more helpful in the short-term.
It’s no guarantee Man U would be given a significant portion of the money to spend (They weren’t after the Ronaldo sale). Even if they are, the dark financial clouds and the aging squad will discourage elite players from going there. Man U could be forced to buy on the cheap, which is impossible for them to do. Man U having interest in a player immediately drives up his value.
The decisions made now are crucial for Manchester United’s future, but who has an investment in it. With Rooney gone, Sir Alex Ferguson may retire. David Gill may leave the club. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs would also hang it up. The Glazers could be left with a declining brand name, a mediocre collection of players and billions in debt. What happens financially if they miss the Champions League in future seasons? What happens if they miss out next season?
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