David Moyes and Manchester United appeared to be in no hurry to resolve the uncertainty surrounding Wayne Rooney’s future last night, with indications that the talks on which the 27-year-old’s Manchester United career now hinges did not take place yesterday.
The club are unconcerned that a failure to resolve the issue quickly will mean the press conference at which Moyes will be presented as United manager, scheduled for Friday, being dominated by the Rooney question. United may move today or tomorrow to clarify that Rooney did not demand a transfer request when he told Sir Alex Ferguson he was unsure where his future lay, at the end of last season. But the club consider him to be their player and will not allow the managerial transition to force their hand on a new contract.
Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, is likely to want a new deal, as well as a public clarification that he did not demand to leave the club, to smooth things over with supporters from whom Rooney expects a difficult time if he returns to competitive action.
While the clarification is the easy part for Moyes and Woodward; the contract issue is likely to be a sticking point. After a season in which Rooney has failed to hold down a regular place as a striker and has been inconsistent, it will be difficult for United to justify offering him the same £250,000 a week.
Agreement between the two parties may hinge on how much ground the Rooney camp are willing to concede on a reduced salary. If the financial offer is inadequate for Rooney’s Paul Stretford and the player, he will have to place a formal transfer request. United may not be in any hurry to offer a new contract now. If discussions do proceed on a new contract, Rooney’s future will come down to money. United are using Rooney’s image on bus advertisements for the club TV channel’s coverage of the forthcoming tour of the Far East and Australia and clearly do not expect him to be absent from that.
An announcement may be made by Friday, and possibly today, that Phil Neville is to join Moyes’ coaching staff, as The Independent reported in June that he would. There is a far greater sense of urgency about the remaining components of the new manager’s coaching team being confirmed.
Nemanja Vidic was granted dispensation to miss the return to training yesterday to join Ferguson at Wimbledon to watch his compatriot Novak Djokovic play his quarter final tie against Tomas Berdych.