Moyes secures Rooney with £300k-a-week deal
Wayne Rooney is closing in on a £300,000-a-week contract at Manchester United after deciding to end uncertainty over his future by abandoning plans to leave.
With the Premier League champions close to finalising the £37m signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea over the weekend, United hope to move quickly to end the Rooney saga in order to allow the player to focus solely on the club's pursuit of Champions League qualification in the final months of the season.
Negotiations between United and Rooney have taken place this month and the player has been encouraged by the club's readiness to hand him a lucrative new deal and determination to resist all offers to sell him this summer.
Rooney, who had pursued a move from United last summer following the breakdown of his relationship with former manager Alex Ferguson, stopped short of submitting a formal transfer request to force through a move to Chelsea at the start of this campaign.
And although the 28-year-old was expected to be offered the chance to sign for Chelsea, Real Madrid and Arsenal this summer, the England forward is understood to have authorised his representatives to open talks with United over a new long-term deal to replace the final 18 months of his £250,000-a-week contract.
United manager David Moyes, who watched Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Patrick Herrmann in action against Bayern Munich last night, has worked continuously throughout this season to repair Rooney's relationship with the club following his fallout with Ferguson.
Despite an acrimonious libel case brought by Moyes against Rooney in 2008 – which was settled out of court – following claims by the player in his autobiography, the two men had made up their differences prior to the Scot's appointment last May.
And Moyes' persistence and efforts with Rooney appear to have been rewarded with the player accepting that his long-term future lies at Old Trafford.
Rooney's representative and adviser, Paul Stretford, sparked speculation over the player's contract situation when he was photographed driving into United's Carrington training ground on Thursday.
But while the purpose of that visit was to oversee Rooney's involvement in a Nike marketing campaign centred around his involvement at the World Cup this summer, discussions with United's executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, have been ongoing and have progressed well.
Rooney's decision to stay at United is rooted in his return to prominence under Moyes following his fall from grace during Ferguson's final season in charge 12 months ago.
Having been a central figure in Ferguson's plans ever since his £27m arrival from Everton in August 2004, Rooney fell out of favour last season, with the former manager repeatedly criticising the player's fitness and sharpness before naming him as a substitute for the Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Real Madrid in March – a game which United lost and were therefore eliminated from the competition.
Ferguson's subsequent decision to claim that Rooney had asked to leave United angered the player, with the club's failure to defend him publicly also fuelling his decision to seek a move to Chelsea.
But with United's rejecting two bids from the London club last summer and Moyes holding firm on his intention to keep the player, Rooney has impressed the new manager and senior figures at Old Trafford by returning to his best form this season prior to suffering the groin injury that has sidelined him since the New Year's Day defeat to Tottenham.
Having been on the brink of forcing through a move to Manchester City midway through the 2010-11 season following a week-long stand-off with the club in October 2010, Rooney ultimately signed the £250,000-a-week, five-year deal that he is now set to replace.
Rooney's actions at the time, which included the release of a statement questioning the club's ambition in the build-up to a Champions League tie against Bursaspor, damaged his relationship with Ferguson and the club's supporters.
But despite his latest attempt to force a move, Rooney has been well received by the club's fans.
With Mata close to signing and Rooney ready to commit his future to the club, Moyes can be credited with being instrumental in driving the forward back to the negotiating table.
The club-record deal for Mata has been held up by Mohamed Salah's wait for a visa. Mata is ready to seal his £37m move to United, with Chelsea making £12m Salah his immediate replacement from FC Basel.
But Salah has been forced to undergo his Chelsea medical in Switzerland while he waits for a visa to fly to England and complete the paperwork on his switch.
Conversations have been taking place over how United will pay the fee for Mata to Chelsea, but it is believed the Blues want the green light on Salah's visa before giving the final sign-off.
United remain confident that Mata will complete his transfer in plenty of time to make his debut in the Premier League against Cardiff at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had claimed he had not fully given up on Salah, but Chelsea insist the winger has told them he will be moving to Stamford Bridge and that their bid was the only one accepted by Basle.
Chelsea hope Salah's move can be completed over the weekend which would make him eligible to face West Ham on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, United last night confirmed that they had reached agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Mata for a club-record fee, believed to be £37m.
The deal for Mata is subject to a agreement of personal terms which are unlikely to be an issue and a medical which is expected to be completed today. (© Daily Telegraph, London)