Appointment of David Moyes as Manchester United manager set to put futures of Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney in the spotlight
Will Everton full-back Leighton Baines follow David Moyes to Manchester United? And what will the Everton manager's arrival at Old Trafford mean for Wayne Rooney?
David Moyes is widely expected to be named as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor - possibly as soon as tomorrow - in a move that could have repercussions for the futures of both Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney.
The appointment will be seen as one of evolution rather than revolution, with Ferguson at pains recently to express his belief he has built a squad with a core that can dominate at home and contend in Europe for years to come.
"We have fantastic strength in depth," Ferguson said.
"That's the area where we don't want to confuse ourselves because you end up with too many players and having to try to keep them all happy. It's happened a few times this season."
Yet despite just reclaiming the Premier League crown, the Manchester United squad will not be allowed to stand still.
"We'll look at one or two bodies to come in," said Ferguson earlier this month, before asserting he would expect the Glazers to stump up the cash for any new deals.
"Any time we've asked for money off the owners they've delivered."
So while no major overhaul will take place, should Moyes find himself in the Old Trafford hotseat, he is sure to make some tweaks to the squad.
The most likely candidate to be linked with a move to Old Trafford will be Baines. The England left-back has been consistently linked with a move to United for the past few seasons, and after another superb campaign in which he has begun to oust Ashley Cole as the first choice for the national team, his claims for a move to England's top club could not be stronger.
The arrival of Moyes will only cement those claims and few will be surprised if the 28-year-old, who Moyes signed from Wigan in 2007, follows his current manager to Manchester.
Appointing Moyes will also further cloud the future of Rooney. The England striker has endured perhaps his most frustrating campaign since joining from Everton in 2004, seeing himself deployed in midfield and being overshadowed by Robin van Persie.
The 27-year-old has two years to run on his existing contract - a traditional time for club and player to decide on the way forward, either by signing a new deal or being sold before a player's value is allowed to slide.
Ferguson has consistently insisted that Rooney will not be sold, but as the current United manager moves into his director role, he will not have the final say on the issue. That will come down to Moyes - who has a far from easy relationship with Rooney.
The Everton boss accepted 'substantial' undisclosed libel damages in June 2008 when he sued Rooney, his co-author Hunter Davies and HarperCollins, the publishers of Wayne Rooney – My Story So Far, following allegations that he leaked details of a confidential conversation with the player.
The relationship between the two has since thawed after Rooney rang Moyes to apologise for the incident.
"Wayne phoned me a year ago to apologise for his book and to say that the things he'd put in it were wrong and that he had made a mistake," Moyes revealed in 2010.
"I had to give him a lot of credit for that. For me, it showed his maturity and he thanked us for the help that had been given to him at Everton.
"The court case had been won anyway, so it was over as far as I was concerned, but I said to him: 'No problem, that's fine. It just shows the maturity and where you're coming to.'
"I got the impression it was something Wayne wanted to do, rather than someone suggesting it to him. It came across that he wanted to make the call and set things straight between us and I appreciated that. The maturity has come from the people around him as well, but also from the boy.
"Now he is the one who is sorting out the young players at United. Anyone who's stepping out of line, not doing it right, he's the one who's looking after them. Everybody gets a bit older and wiser."
Ferguson's consistent standpoint that Rooney will remain at Old Trafford has failed to quash rumours, with Rooney linked particularly regularly with both Bayern Munich and PSG. The arrival of Moyes will only increase the talk.
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