Wednesday 22 November 2017

Moyes faces red-letter day with Rooney

Manchester United manager David Moyes poses with assistant manager Steve Round (left) and coach Jimmy Lumsden on his first day in the job at Carrington
Manchester United manager David Moyes poses with assistant manager Steve Round (left) and coach Jimmy Lumsden on his first day in the job at Carrington

Chris Bascombe

David Moyes officially joined Manchester United yesterday faced with a decision whether to sell Wayne Rooney to Chelsea for £20m.

Although several clubs have been tracking the unsettled England striker, it is understood that Rooney is most attracted by the prospect of joining Jose Mourinho, a coach he has long admired, at Stamford Bridge.

United have maintained their stance that Rooney would not be allowed to leave for another English club, but a planned massive bid from Roman Abramovich may prompt the player to break the impasse and seek a move to the capital.

Arsenal and Paris St-Germain will also be monitoring the progress of the meeting between Moyes and Rooney, the first following the start of pre-season training.

That meeting is expected to take place today. Rooney and Moyes spoke after the Scot's appointment was announced, but only now can they seek a resolution to what could become the transfer story of the summer.

Rooney will not wish to surrender bonuses with a formal transfer request, but that he has not declared a desire to stay has been telling. There is no doubt he is open to the idea of ending a nine-year association with United.

UNCERTAIN

His future has been uncertain since the end of last season, when former United manager Alex Ferguson suggested the 27-year-old had asked to leave, a claim that those close to Rooney have denied in private.

Moyes' appointment was seen as having the potential to ease tensions, despite the pair's tumultuous history at Goodison Park. Moyes and Rooney have patched up their differences in recent years, but Chelsea's strong interest will challenge any attempt to revive their working relationship.

With two years left on Rooney's £250,000-a-week contract, there are both sporting and financial reasons for Moyes to consider a sale, despite the public pronouncements about wanting to keep him. To retain Rooney would sacrifice a significant transfer fee and raise the prospect of having to extend his lucrative deal.

Although few expect a swift end to what may become a saga, the first significant date likely to offer a clue to Rooney's future is July 10 when United depart for a three-week tour of the Far East and Australia.

Arsenal have also been strongly linked with Rooney, with Jack Wilshere openly coveting his England team-mate.

"If it happens, it would be amazing," Wilshere said. "He is the type of player who can win you trophies, and just to see his name on the teamsheet brings fear to the opposition. We could do with a little more of that."

The Rooney situation removes any possibility of a serene opening to Moyes' Old Trafford career. Replacing Ferguson is intimidating enough, although Moyes showed his predecessor's work ethic when he arrived to the training ground at 8am. His first duty was to confirm his backroom team, all of whom followed from Goodison Park.

Assistant manager is Steve Round, Chris Woods is the new goalkeeping coach and Jimmy Lumsden also joins the coaching team.

"I am delighted they have decided to join me," Moyes said. "They bring great qualities in their fields and feel that this is a challenge to relish.

"I have great faith that we can build upon the success this club has enjoyed over many years."

Moyes is also eager to recruit Leighton Baines but first must overcome several obstacles. He would have to be given £20m to sign the Everton left-back and hope that he pushes for a move, neither of which is certain to happen.

United's new executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward backed Moyes on his first day in office.

"I have great belief that David and his team will have all the energy and attributes needed to help this club continue in its traditions," Woodward said.

Moyes' former club, Everton, have ended coach Andy Holden's contract.

New manager Roberto Martinez will confirm his backroom staff this week as he appoints the team he worked alongside at Wigan Athletic. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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