Manchester United sending mixed messages on Rooney future

Mark Metcalfe

It's depresses me that we're having to spend so much time on the Wayne Rooney story, but it's both interesting and entirely possible that he ends up at Chelsea, so let's take a look. The current chatter is all about how harshly Rooney's being treated by Manchester United, with a recent round of quote from David Moyes being interpreted as throwing the 250,000 per week striker to the sharks.

Wayne can play up on his own, he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him. I want to be able to play the two of them, I want to use Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández as well. I want to give myself as many options as possible.

-Source: Guardian.

Most are focusing on "if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him" as a sort of metaphorical axe to the hamstring, but that's not all Moyes said. Leaving out the fact that van Persie has a deserved reputation for fragility and thus requires a high-level backup anyway, Moyes also declares in the very next sentence that he wants to be able to play both of them at the same time. It's hardly throwing Rooney under the bus (although it's not exactly a clever way of handling the press, if indeed Moyes wants to retain him, as he's claimed in the past).

There are also the old quotes from executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward regarding Rooney's contract situation:

There are no contract renewals that are being discussed. I am not sitting down with any player on an extension and there is no trigger date in the diary. Would we be afraid to run a contract down? Of course not.

It's heavy handed, to be sure, but it seems to me to be more misdirected strutting about how powerful and fearless United are than an attempt to get rid of Rooney, whom the club could easily have ditched already after the bizarre business towards the end of last season.

At the very least, though, we're getting extraordinarily mixed messages over whether or not Rooney will stay at United. Although Chelsea are currently reckoned to be the number one suitor if he does go, it's almost impossible at this point to figure out what's going to happen. I'm a Rooney skeptic, so I'm hoping this does doesn't happen -- but right now I have no clue either way.

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