'Angry' Wayne Rooney sets Manchester United exit in motion
Wayne Rooney has moved to facilitate a £25m transfer to Chelsea by revealing that his relationship with Manchester United is on the verge of complete breakdown.
The England striker has let it be known by those close to him he is 'angry and confused' with life at Old Trafford.
In what amounted to the end of the phoney war between the player and club since the end of last season, Rooney allowed those close to him to go as far as they can to state he wants out without issuing a formal transfer request, prompting inevitable speculation that this will be the next move. His advisers say the club is fully aware of their player's feelings.
In the process Rooney has given Jose Mourinho hope that what could become the most acrimonious deal of the summer can now be struck.
It was stated that Rooney believes his future at United is 'bleak' and, from the briefing provided on his behalf last night, it was evident he is ready to end his nine-year association with the champions.
Chelsea are waiting to pounce and Rooney is interested in joining Mourinho where he believes he can flourish for the next stage of his career. The London club remain in the background, monitoring developments but offering enough hints that they will bid at the first suggestion United will sell.
Mourinho has spoken about his interest in Rooney twice during Chelsea's Far East tour, most recently yesterday. He mischievously suggested that England's World Cup hopes would be damaged if their star striker was not a first-choice selection, perceptively playing on the psychological torment the player's advisers would later reveal in more detail. "If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected," he said.
Arsenal have also registered their interest and Rooney is excited by the prospect of a move south, but Chelsea has always been his preferred destination.
There has been an impasse for several weeks because United have made it clear they have no wish to sell the 27-year-old, especially to a Premier League rival, but Rooney's representatives say recent comments by Old Trafford officials have dismayed the player.
Talks were anticipated between new manager David Moyes and Rooney on their return to pre-season training, but there was no resolution to the simmering tensions.
Moyes faced a tricky unveiling press conference a fortnight ago when he was asked to clarify Rooney's position. Although he insisted he wanted to retain Rooney, he was pointedly unable to state if the striker wanted to stay at the club.
There has been no indication from Rooney at any stage since last May that he was willing to resolve his issues and stay at the club and he has now interpreted remarks by Moyes saying the England striker would be needed if Robin van Persie was injured as a hint that he'll only be a squad player.
Rooney was dropped for the Champions League tie with Real Madrid, the most significant game of last season which offered the first evidence he was no longer viewed as indispensable by the club.
Chief executive Ed Woodward, meanwhile, said there were no plans to offer a new deal to Rooney, although at the time he was talking in broad terms about the whole squad rather than any individual. Rooney has two years remaining on a deal believed to be worth in excess of £200,000 a week.
Players of such stature and age are usually invited to extend their deals two years from their expiry date to preserve their value, but not necessarily as a matter of urgency.
By making it known he is affronted by these remarks, Rooney is betraying deeper feelings of animosity against the club which were demonstrated by the reaction to Alex Ferguson's end-of-season statements.
Ferguson left Rooney out of United's final fixture claiming he'd asked to leave – a suggestion the player denied.
The issue has been ready to detonate ever since and it now appears a question of when rather then if he will get his wish to link up with Mourinho.
United's management and executive team are in Sydney and it was 3.0 in the morning there when Rooney's feelings were made public, ensuring they would be in no position to respond for several hours.
They will be in no doubt now of Rooney's determination to leave, with most observers interpreting the latest developments as the player's means of ensuring that he never plays for the club again. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Sept 2005: Sent off in Champions League match at Villarreal after sarcastically applauding referee.
Apr 2006: Injures metatarsal in 3-0 defeat at Chelsea, hampering his involvement at the World Cup.
Mar 2009: Dismissed in 2-0 defeat at Fulham before kicking the corner-flag on his way off the pitch.
Mar 2010: Injures ankle at Bayern Munich and fails to recover form.
Oct 2010: States intention to leave United, before being talked into signing new £250,000-a-week deal.
Apr 2011: Banned for two games after swearing into camera at West Ham.
Dec 2011: Dropped from team to face Blackburn and fined £200,000 following night out with team-mate.
Aug 2012: Dropped to bench for visit of Fulham in favour of new signing Robin van Persie.
May 2013: Outgoing manager Alex Ferguson claims Rooney handed in a second transfer request.