Transfer news: Wayne Rooney faces Manchester United dressing-room rift over Chelsea move as David Moyes considers stance

Ferdinand and Giggs angered by his desire to leave as striker misses Sweden trip with shoulder injury

Northern Football Correspondent

The relationship between Wayne Rooney and Manchester United, which began with the starry-eyed 18-year-old being granted a personal tour of the Carrington training ground by Sir Alex Ferguson, while a grinning Gary Neville tried to persuade him to buy one of his houses, is drifting into a deep and irretrievable state of estrangement.

Manager David Moyes must now decide whether to force the striker to play against his will and face the music from fans in Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial at Old Trafford on Friday.

A shoulder injury, which United yesterday revealed has prevented the 27-year-old from travelling to play in tonight’s pre-season friendly in Stockholm, is not understood to be serious, and is expected to keep Rooney out of training for only three or four days. The result of a collision during a behind-closed-doors training match against Real Betis, it does appear to be a convenient way for the striker to keep himself out of the picture, following United’s rejection on Sunday of a second Chelsea bid of £25m plus add-ons. Rooney asked to miss the Sweden trip.

An impression is also being given that Rooney’s relationship with some of the senior players in the United dressing room – Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra – is becoming strained, amid those players’ concerns that their pleas with him to stay at United have been ignored. The sense of a dressing-room rift serves Rooney well in his attempts to prove that his position  at the club is untenable. He can shape his own position as one in which he has fans and team-mates against him, with Ferguson, now an ogre in the player’s mind, as a spectre in the background. All good grounds to leave.

Rooney, who has not started a game for United since the 1-1 draw at Arsenal on 28 April, will probably try to avoid a potentially unpleasant encounter with supporters when Seville arrive for Ferdinand’s testimonial and in Sunday’s Community Shield match against Wigan Athletic at Wembley.

The shoulder injury, which follows the hamstring problem which ended his pre-season tour within hours of United landing in Thailand, may again help. Moyes must decide whether to maintain the hard line United have adopted since Rooney first started  agitating through the media for a transfer, on 17 July, and insist he plays.

If he concludes that Rooney’s presence is destabilising and drops him, he will have played into the forward’s hands, taking him a step closer to the departure he now seeks. It is a fairly desperate, invidious position for Moyes, who has lost Rooney’s goodwill at a time when he does not appear to have a replacement.

Ironically, senior United executives were pondering earlier this summer how they could help soften the fans’ perception of Rooney in order to ensure he got the kind of welcome against Seville which might encourage him to feel that Old Trafford is his home.

A third, £40m bid from Chelsea is one United may now not be able to justify refusing, though they could refuse to sell until Jose Mourinho’s side have visited Old Trafford on 26 August. By not playing Rooney between now and then, they could also limit his capacity to hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge. That would dismay the England manager, Roy Hodgson, who has two critical World Cup qualifiers, against Moldova on 6 September and in Ukraine four days later.

Though Rooney is understood to be unlikely to put in a formal transfer request, such an action is unnecessary and fairly meaningless, since he has already made it perfectly clear to Moyes that he wants to go and stands to lose only a fraction of his signing-on fee by lodging a formal demand.

“Formal transfer requests are not used very often, though you would think they are common, to judge by how much you read about them,” said sports lawyer Ian Lynam, joint head of sport at the Charles Russell practice. “Technically, the club has a contract with the player and effectively own his registration. But the player is an asset and a declining asset is less worth in the future. The player has all the power and the club can’t do much.”

Though Rooney’s discontent resides in his relationship with Ferguson, rather than Moyes, the new manager is facing a reprise of the summer of 2004 at Everton when, to quote the chapter of one of the player’s various autobiographies, he told Moyes: “I don’t want to play for you ever again.”

Rooney describes how Everton’s then chief executive Trevor Birch asked his agent, Paul Stretford, if he was willing to go to Chelsea. Moyes also asked him if he would consider Liverpool, who were also interested, before United came along. “The minute they appeared I knew that was the club I wanted to join,” Rooney told his ghostwriter.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments