Time for a change: Sir Alex Ferguson leaves Manchester United... and Wayne Rooney wants to leave too

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Striker asked for move two weeks ago, while David Moyes could be named as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor this week - with Martinez, Hughes and O’Neill in the frame to take over at Goodison Park

Manchester United's new manager David Moyes is facing his first headache even before his expected appointment today, as it has emerged that Wayne Rooney has told the club that he believes he needs a fresh start and wants to leave.

Rooney is understood to have met Six Alex Ferguson two weeks ago and told the Scot, who announced his retirement as United manager yesterday, that he wants to leave the club. Ferguson categorically rejected that request and though the club say they do not want to sell, the player's £250,000-a-week contract which has two years left to run will be difficult to renew at the same level, following Rooney's performance levels of this season. United stated: “Wayne Rooney is not for sale.”

Click HERE or click 'VIEW GALLERY' to see Manchester United's players at Chester Races following Ferguson's announcement

The 27-year-old, who will now be asked to work for a new manager who sued him over comments he made in his 2006 autobiography, did not know of Ferguson's intention to leave when he asked to go and Moyes' imminent arrival has not been a factor in his request.

Ferguson has dropped Rooney into a deep-lying midfield role which ill-suited him this season and said publicly that he must fight with Shinji Kagawa for a place behind the striker. Though their relationship is believed to have improved since Rooney was omitted from the side to face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 match at Old Trafford, he has been linked with Bayern Munich.

A meeting between outgoing chief executive David Gill and Cristiano Ronaldo's agent, Jorge Mendes, has also given rise to fresh suggestions that Ronaldo may be in line for an £80m return to Manchester, though Gill is no longer conducting transfer business, ahead of his own departure from United on June 30.

United's appointment of Moyes as Sir Alex Ferguson' successor is likely to be confirmed after the 50-year-old has met Everton's players at training later this morning, after weeks of work under a cloak of secrecy by the club to ensure a smooth transition at Old Trafford.

Ferguson’s decision to retire, bringing the curtain down on an extraordinary 26 years at United, was confirmed at 9.15am today, the Scot’s one last frustration with the national print media being that it beat the club to news Old Trafford had planned to announce at 10am.

Moyes’ move at the end of the season already leaves Wigan Athletic’s Roberto Martinez, former Everton player Mark Hughes, whose agent Kia Joorabchian has close links to club chairman Bill Kenwright, and Martin O’Neill as potential successors at Goodison. But it also leaves Everton aggrieved that United have not approached them directly about the imminent appointment. Moyes is understood only to have told his chairman Bill Kenwright at 1.30pm. He did not discuss his appointment with Everton’s players when he took training today and travelled to London with his brother and agent, Kenny, to watch Chelsea play Tottenham Hotspur.

The Independent understands that United consider Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Chelsea’s manager this summer to be a certainty. But 50-year-old Moyes, who may bring his captain Phil Neville with him to Old Trafford in a coaching role, has been No 1 on United’s list since Ferguson announced his intention to retire in late February. Gill and the Glazer family did not try to dissuade him.

Ferguson’s own input concerning the choice is said to have been “critical”. Moyes is expected to take the club he has managed for 11 years to West Ham on Sunday and his customary Friday press conference has not been cancelled – as Ferguson’s has. But with Moyes out of contract on 30 June, agreeing a deal with him is the only hurdle for United’s chief executive designate, Ed Woodward – who is leading discussions. Moyes is expected formally to take over as United manager on 1 July.

Woodward and the current chief executive David Gill, who will step down on the same day as Ferguson, are adamant that the new manager will be allowed to bring in two or three new players, rather than overhaul the side. That philosophy weighs heavily against Jose Mourinho, who will leave Real Madrid this summer. Ferguson is understood to feel strongly that Moyes’ lack of Champions League experience is not an issue. He was deeply irritated when Moyes’ so-called “inexperience” was put to him by journalists in February.

Though there have been suggestions that the retirement story slipped out because of a TV programme about the United manager, scheduled for Sunday on the club’s in-house channel, senior sources maintain that today was always the planned announcement date, meaning an emotional last Old Trafford occasion for the Glaswegian when United entertain Swansea City on Sunday.

Before United were listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year, the club warned that “any successor to our current manager may not be as successful. A downturn in the performance of our first team could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain coaches and players.” The share price fluctuated, dropping 4.7 per cent in the first 10 minutes of trading.

United’s ambassador and former captain Bryan Robson said that the incoming manager had to win a trophy and play attractive football in his first season. “You’ve got to play… a passing game and also very attacking [football],” he said.

Ferguson, who will become an ambassador and director of United, told his players of his intentions at around 8.50am in what is understood to have been an emotional conversation.

He said in a statement: “It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so.”

 

Related articles...

Moyes confirms 'desire to join Manchester United'

The contenders to replace Moyes as Everton manager

Rooney exit: Striker deletes 'Manchester United player' from his Twitter profile

Should Moyes sell Wayne Rooney?

Silverware is no measure of Moyes

Business as usual: Sir Alex Ferguson back on the training ground

James Lawton: Ferguson's exit leaves a yawning vacuum

 

David Moyes record

Honours

FA Cup runner-up 2009

Second Division title 1999-00

Champions League qualification 2004-05

Four top-six Premier League finishes

Personal accolades

LMA Manager of the Year 2002-03, 2004-05, 2008-09

Ten Premier League Manager of the Month awards

Overall Premier League record

P425 W172 D123 L130

Points 639 Win percentage: 40

Further reading
Sam Wallace: What next for United after Ferguson?
His best XI during his reign
His 13 titles remembered
Season-by-season guide
Players pay tribute
Ferguson’s statement in full
Fans at Old Trafford: Knocking the Scousers off their perch meant the most
 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
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

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride