Manchester United made a smart agreement with Wayne Rooney's new deal
Wayne Rooney’s bumper new five-and-a-half year deal at Manchester United was portrayed as an act of desperation. United, in a season spiraling disastrously, were simply throwing money at the problem; and wasting it by paying over the odds.
But the detail of the ground-breaking deal shows it is a far smarter agreement; there is reward and relatively no risk for United while, if it works, it is expected to be rolled out by other clubs for their star players.
Rooney’s new contract does not place him on a higher basic salary such as the £300,000-a-week that has been claimed. Indeed there is understood to actually be a small drop in the £240,000-a-week he was being paid – but there is limitless scope for future earnings if he and his adviser Paul Stretford tap into United’s commercial department.
That revolutionary part of the deal has still to be formalized and exists, at present, as an understanding between the two parties rather than something that has been contractually agreed. That in itself demonstrates the goodwill that now exists which is some turnaround from last year.
In essence it means that United, by agreeing the contract, have bought the sole mandate to conduct commercial deals for Rooney. The 28-year-old cannot now go off and negotiate his own deals. If, for example, a Japanese car company want to do a separate negotiation with Rooney then they will have to deal with United.
But neither would United force him to do anything he did not want to do and Rooney has been clear that he does not want to be over-stretched.
A priority for both club and player is actually to keep his workload down. He will not be jetting off to the Far East to make TV adverts. He will stay close to home.
In theory United could, therefore, do very little; they could even make no deals on Rooney’s behalf and fulfil their obligations.
But there is an incentive and a commitment to be relatively active – because the club gets a cut of the profits also and when it goes to talk to sponsors it can offer them not just their brand but their star player also.
There would appear to be minimal risk and a great deal of reward for United and for Rooney under the agreement which other clubs are sure to follow. Both player and club can make a lot of money.
Bale could leave Madrid in 2016
How long will Gareth Bale stay at Real Madrid? The 24-year-old signed a six-year contract when his world-record fee of £85million was agreed with Tottenham Hotspur last August and is understood to have settled well in Madrid. Bale is unassuming and low-maintenance and despite, on occasions, some harsh criticism from the local media and fans has settled in well with Real and in his new surroundings.
Bale was also serious in his statements that Real were the club he wanted to join despite a strong late move from Manchester United who were prepared to out-bid the Spanish giants.
But how long will be stay? A crunch might come, according to some sources, when Bale’s daughter, Alba Violet, who is two in October, reaches school age. Bale’s partner Emma Rhys-Jones has moved to Spain with him and one rumour is that the family might want to return closer to home at that time; maybe in two years time. If so it would lead to an almighty fight for Bale’s signature with United, in particular, keen to see how things develop having shown their hand and retained an interest.
Lennon to Norwich makes sense
Neil Lennon’s appearance on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme on Sunday evening did not go unnoticed by clubs in England. It came just hours after Norwich City sacked manager Chris Hughton although, obviously, Lennon’s appearance on the Beeb was booked well in advance and without the knowledge that the club were wielding the axe. There was no direct ulterior motive.
Understandably Lennon went out of his way to distance himself from the Norwich job, for which bookmakers have installed him among the favourites, when he was asked live on TV insisting it was a “privilege” to manage Celtic.
Which it is. Except, possibly, there is only so far the 42-year-old can take Celtic and Lennon has highlighted the huge financial gulf that exists between English and Scottish football and how much more competitive the league is.
Maybe Lennon is not in the frame for Norwich – and the latest indications are that he might not be – but he may well be letting it be known by raising his profile that he could be in the market for a move. He certainly deserves the chance if he does want to make a change.
A complication for Norwich, should they make an approach for Lennon, however, could be that he is understood to share the same adviser as Hughton, the agent Rob Segal, which might make any approach awkward.
Grant could return to a London club
Despite being sacked by Chelsea after losing the 2008 Champions League Final, Avram Grant has continued to demonstrate that his friendship with Roman Abramovich has endured. The billionaire Chelsea owner’s friend and business partner, Eugene Shvidler, recently held a lavish 50th birthday party at Hampton Court. Abramovich was among the guests, of course, as was Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, director Eugene Tenenbaum, former player Andrei Shevchenko – and Grant.
No other former Chelsea manager under Abramovich was present. Grant has not managed since resigning as Partizan Belgrade’s coach more than two years ago (having previously been sacked by West Ham after being relegated) and was an incongruous pundit for BT Sport during the recent Chelsea v Arsenal Premier League match at Stamford Bridge when his pitchside presence almost went unnoticed.
But he could make a return to English football. Rumours, which first surfaced in January, persist that Grant could be on his way back – but not at Chelsea – with apparent links to Charlton Athletic’s new owner Roland Duchatelet and a role as director of football.