Saturday 24 February 2018

Manchester United stall on Wayne Rooney deal

Moyes to delay contract talks as he gears up for recruitment drive

Manchester United manager David Moyes and Wayne Rooney
Manchester United manager David Moyes and Wayne Rooney

Mark Ogden and Jeremy Wilson

Manchester United will continue to resist any offers for Wayne Rooney in the January transfer window, but have no plans to open contract talks with the forward before the end of 2013.

Rooney, who helped United earn a 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Sunday with two goals at White Hart Lane, will enter the final 18 months of his Old Trafford contract in the new year.

But with manager David Moyes expected to add to his squad next month – Leighton Baines, Ander Herrera and Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan are all likely targets – efforts to renegotiate and extend Rooney's contract could be put on hold until the end of the transfer window.

Having made clear his desire to leave the club at the end of last season, Rooney stopped short of submitting an official transfer request, despite Chelsea submitting two bids – both rejected by United.

The 28-year-old's fractured relationship with former manager Alex Ferguson was the central factor in the England forward's efforts to end his nine-year spell at Old Trafford.

However, with Rooney's good form under Moyes coinciding with Ferguson's diminishing presence at United, there is a view among senior figures at the club that the player is now focused on his football and that the impasse of the summer has been overcome.

Rooney, having scored 10 goals in 18 appearances this season, is understood to have become more settled at the club but there is no rush on the player's part to thrash out new terms to replace his £250,000-a-week deal.

United are confident that they'll continue to have the finances and credentials to keep the former Everton star beyond the remainder of his contract.

Michael Carrick, Nani and Adnan Januzaj have all negotiated new contracts with United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward since the start of this season, with Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra also expected to be offered new deals in the coming months.

Phil Jones, who misses tomorrow's game against Everton due to suspension, and David de Gea may also be rewarded with improved contracts before the start of next season, while Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are set to wait until next summer before discussing their United futures.

United, meanwhile, have secured the services of John Murtough, the Premier League head of elite performance, after negotiating the 40-year-old's release from his contract.

Murtough, who worked under Moyes during his time with Everton's youth academy, will start work at Old Trafford this month in a newly created position that will see him charged with "leading the club's pursuit of 'marginal gains' in areas such as sports science, nutrition, medicine and sports psychology".

Chris Smalling has admitted that United have work to do on the training ground to address the mistake they made in allowing Kyle Walker to score Tottenham's soft opening goal last Sunday.

"Obviously you try not to jump too much but he got it underneath us, so we'll have to look at that," said Smalling of the free-kick.


"We're supposed to jump only a little bit, enough to give us a few extra inches in height but not enough so the ball can go underneath us. So we'll have to work more on that."

Striker Danny Welbeck believes that United must stop giving away cheap and damaging free-kicks if they are to climb the table.

"We gave away too many free-kicks against Tottenham and that put us under pressure.

"If we can limit ourselves from doing that then I'm sure we will be a lot better in future games," he said.

Moyes knows this month will be key to United's chances of finishing inside the top four this season.

After home games against his old club Everton and Newcastle, the Scot has a favourable set of fixtures including games against Aston Villa, Hull, Stoke, West Ham and Norwich.

Given that the games are packed so tightly together, Moyes will have to rotate his squad, and he looks set to have Welbeck to call upon.

A knee injury had kept the 23-year-old out of action for club and country for two months, but he is nearing full fitness.

"I wanted to get the winner but it didn't come this time. I need a couple more games," said the striker, who was substituted in the second half on Sunday. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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