How do you solve a problem like Wayne Rooney?

Andrew Lloyd-Webber take note – your droopy looking face, yet extremely large bank balance could be interested in a musical based around a 24 year old ‘coatto’ who’s done it all…. Played around the world for club and country. Earnt millions upon millions of pounds doing something that millions and millions of kids would give their right arm to do. A ‘family man’. A ‘tabloid dream’. An individual ripe for parody. He is Wayne Rooney. Now what the hell do we do with him? Stick him in a technicolour dream coat is not the answer, Andrew.

As Sky Sports News froth uncontrollably like Hannibal Lecter with a nice Chianti, all Manchester United fans fear the worse – could Wayne be wearing blue next season? Could he be the ‘new’ Denis Law and relegate United next season? Oh wait, I’m getting carried away, it’s not Liverpool….

In fact, could it be any colour other than Manchester red or blue? Unfortunately there are the usual suspects and not a lot else. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan or AC Milan. Any one else? Bayern Munich don’t enjoy the gigantic platform they once had, despite their performance in the Champions League last year, and sheer dominance in terms of the ‘big name’ in Germany. He’s too young to go and destroy his career in America. France? Seriously? No.

Madrid have already said they don’t want him, which if previous history is to go by, means they’ll have put a bid in for him before the turkey’s gone cold at Christmas. The club’s President Florentino Perez has history of English players and understands the sheer market franchise behind them…oh, and Jonathan Woodgate. Jose Mourinho knows how to look after his players, speaks great English and knows a lot about Rooney. The fact he couldn’t play in the Champions League until next season though is the instant sticking point for all clubs.

Sticking with Spain, and Barcelona may seem like even I’ve got ideas above my station for Wayne to go there, but many Barca fans will admit if they lack anywhere on the pitch, they lack squad depth up-front. They’re not flooded with money at the Nou Camp but as Rooney’s contract ticks down, he may be relatively ‘cheap’.

Chelsea & Man City will sniff around him – with Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka the wrong side of 30, things aren’t getting any younger at Stamford Bridge. Can you really expect 30 goals a season from Saloman Kalou? At Man City, you’ve got his old chum Carlos Tevez and a lacklustre Emmanuel Adebayor – a player slipping in value and worth to the team faster than a piece of Ratner jewellery. Tevez obviously made the move across Manchester, but partly because he never entirely settled at Old Trafford…for Wayne Rooney, City will pay him more money than you could ever imagine. The football purists will mentally vomit at the thought of it. City fans will lap it up whilst the bubble is still inflating.

In Italy there’s the two Milan clubs, but little else to lure Englishmen like Gazza, Paul Ince and David Platt in the nineties. Although the idea of Wayne Rooney playing for Sampdoria, and then failing miserably at managing them does humour me. AC Milan are flooded with forwards, but many of their team are ageing even more and they haven’t won much in a while as Inter Milan dominate the Italian set-up. With Rafael Benitez at the helm at Internazionale he may strike up an interest…although if Liverpool keep slipping, Fernando Torres may be getting a phone call first.

Before I move on, I should point out that he is generally offered at 100/1 that he’ll go back to Everton, and 500/1 that he’ll move to nearby neighbours Tranmere Rovers. You heard it here first.

In his six years at Old Trafford, Manchester United have evolved again under Sir Alex Ferguson. Everyone remembers his debut at the club – a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Fenerbache. Yet you’d take a while to name the team for United that night…and on inspection just how poor it was. Just for a moment, contemplate this line-up (and substitutions) below…

Roy Carroll, Gary Neville, Gabriel Heinze (Phil Neville, 82), Rio Ferdinand, Mikael Silvestre, Jose Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion, Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy (Liam Miller, 82), Ryan Giggs (Darren Fletcher, 63)

Bellion. Djemba-Djemba. Kleberson. Miller. All players who are instantly regrettable under Fergie’s signings book. Really poor players. But they slipped out the door at United without so much as a whisper. It’s the big name players who go out guns blazing like a fighter pilot still shooting at the Jerry’s for Queen and Country whilst his Spitfire hurtled to the ground.

Over Fergie’s time he’s had notable fallings out and each time Fergie has won the battle. Paul Ince, Paul McGrath, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, David Beckham – all names that fought the law and the law won. People reading this of a certain age may not even remember Paul McGrath – my personal memories are of him playing for Aston Villa, but then again I’m not ‘too’ old…some people reading this may not even remember Jaap Stam! Ince’s departure was marred with swear words, and latterly Alan Hansen suggesting ‘you’ll never win anything with kids’. Evidently, Paul Ince was quickly forgotten in Fergie’s book as they did the double the following season.

But I leave this blog on a question that will leave people talking for time immemorial due to it’s significance when it happens, yet one question that has begun to seep in here. Wayne Rooney has set a possible precedent that not even the marketing might of David Beckham could do. A reaction from a small rumbling of fans that may gather moss depending on how United’s season unfolds over the coming months. An inkling that the end of an era may be nigh in Manchester. That question is…could the departure of Wayne Rooney signal the end of Fergie? Oh yes, I went there. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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About carlmcqueen

Founder of Optajoke - www.twitter.com/mrcarlmcqueen
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