'Fear of City switch forced United into Wayne Rooney mega-deal'
Manchester United's owners were convinced the club would lose Wayne Rooney to Manchester City at the height of the uncertainty which led them to give him a £200,000-a-week contract.
The fears of the club's hierarchy are revealed in the first detailed behind-the-scenes insight into the Glazer family's 10-year reign at Old Trafford, written by their former spokesman Tehsin Nayani. He describes "a growing resignation among the club's hierarchy" that Rooney would be "on his way out to join Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City" in October 2010.
Rooney publicly questioned United's ambitions two hours before a Champions League match against Bursaspor. Two days later, after what Nayani describes as "a most unedifying public relations battle between Rooney and United," the club confirmed it had entered into intensive talks with the player's representatives as "a rapprochement was possible".
The book lays bare Nayani's contempt for Rooney, whom he accuses of making a "crudely disguised dig" at the Glazers by making his claim that United were no longer able to "attract the top players in the world".
He describes his desire to make his feelings about Rooney's conduct clear, rather than the agreed strategy, which was "say absolutely nothing." Alex Ferguson described how Rooney was "made one of the highest paid players in the country" after a conference call with the Glazers, at which "the future ambitions of the club were discussed".
Nayani's book - 'The Glazer Gatekeeper' - also describes how co-chairman Joel Glazer refused to believe that elements of the club's fanbase "hated" them - even rejecting the notion on the feverish night when David Beckham appeared to support the green and gold campaign. (© Daily Telegraph, London)