Ferguson willing to sell Rooney during transfer window

Exclusive: Broken relationship with manager may lead to exit but club issue joint denial

* See correction, 7 January

The Christmas bust-up between Wayne Rooney and Sir Alex Ferguson has run so deep that it could lead to the player's departure as early as the current transfer window.

One source close to Manchester United yesterday suggested that their working relationship has been seriously damaged – a situation that has raised fears at Old Trafford that a move could indeed happen this month. This belief is provoked by strong feeling around the club that Ferguson believes he has lost control of Rooney.

Both United and Rooney moved quickly last night to deny that the striker may be leaving the club, issuing a joint statement that stressed both have “utmost respect for each other and look forward to working together in the coming seasons.”

However, fuelling the suspicion that despite the ravages of injury afflicting his team Ferguson is ready to wash his hands of the protégé in whom he has shown such massive faith, and patience, since signing him as a teenager from Everton in 2004, is the degree of his anger when Rooney appeared so plainly to be in no condition to train after a Boxing Day night out.

It had plainly not abated when he called Rooney off the field at Newcastle on Wednesday night, clearly disgusted by an abject performance from the England forward at a time when United desperately needed to keep pace with neighbours Manchester City at the top of the Premier League – and in tomorrow's FA Cup tie.

Ferguson's sense of betrayal can only be heightened by his memory of the acrobatics he was required to perform barely a year ago when Rooney, with his private life and football form apparently in meltdown, demanded a transfer amid rumours that City were ready to take him across town on increased wages. Whatever his private feelings, Ferguson held the line with Rooney, agreed to an improved contract in return for a lukewarm apology to the fans and no immediate improvement in the form that had made his World Cup appearances for England so disappointing – especially after a brilliant club season which had won him the Player of the Year award.

Ferguson also had to endure a public lecture from Rooney about United's lack of ambition. A sharp improvement in Rooney's form at the end of last season and a burst of scoring before Christmas that came at the end of another run of mediocrity might have encouraged Ferguson to believe that his most talented player was in the mood for another tour de force in the second half of this season.

That optimism severely dissipated, however, when Rooney appeared at the Carrington training ground unfit to train – and then crisis was compounded by not only Rooney's failure to perform at Newcastle but also his indifferent demeanour.

United issued a combined statement with Rooney last night that claimed there was no problem in the relationship between manager and player. “We can assure all United fans that the manager and the club are committed to Wayne Rooney and Wayne is committed to the manager and the club,” it read.

“The player and the manager have always had and retain, the utmost respect for each other and look forward to working together in the coming seasons.

”Any suggestion that Manchester United and Wayne Rooney are to part company is complete nonsense.“

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment