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Wayne Rooney set to leave Man Utd after Ferguson bust-up?

Details have been made public today about a reported feud between Wayne Rooney and Alex Ferguson which could lead to the star being sold in January.


Rooney was left on the bench on Saturday against West Brom


The Sunday Mirror today broke a story claiming that Rooney has told club officials he will not agree a new deal with the club. Rooney’s contract is due to expire in the summer of 2011.

All British newspapers are reporting the story on Monday, claiming that Ferguson dropped Rooney for last month’s game with Everton due to his “disgust” at revelations that the forward had slept with prostitutes while his wife was pregnant with their child. Rooney is said to have been furious at the treatment and the pair are alleged to have not spoken for weeks.

If true, it brings and end to another disappointing weekend for the Manchester club as their city rivals overtook them after United let a two-goal lead slip at home to newly promoted West Brom. Carlos Tevez, who was allowed to leave United due to a contract dispute, was again the hero with a two-goal display for Man City in a 3-2 win over Blackpool.

Man United have looked a shadow of their former selves since Rooney’s revelations broke in the English tabloids, dropping points at Everton, Sunderland and now home to newly promoted West Brom.

Chief executive David Gill had assured fans during the summer that Rooney’s contract would be resolved shortly, but it now looks as though negotiations have broken down. Could Rooney be making a play in a bid to get a better offer from the club, as many believe Roy Keane did when he flirted with Juventus before committing to the club years ago?

In all probability, it seems unlikely. United would surely be offering Rooney phenomenal wages in a bid to keep their star. He was being offered a reported £160,000 per week, a salary few clubs could afford worldwide. Rooney has also never professed a desire to move abroad like former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo did before his record-breaking move to Real Madrid.

Having played 90 minutes for England against Montenegro on Tuesday, Rooney told reporters there was nothing wrong with his ankle, in clear defiance of Ferguson’s statements that it had prevented him from playing games for United this year. Instead, Rooney claimed, he was surprised at the lack of game time he needed to get fully fit.

Whether the rumours of a breakdown in their relationship are true or not, Rooney will have angered Ferguson with his carefully chosen words to reporters during the week. Much has been made of Ferguson parting company with the likes of Beckham, Keane and Stam when they have crossed the manager. But in those days Ferguson had ready-made replacements. Today he does not.

Losing Rooney would be a travesty for a side that is already looking weaker than in any time since they first won the Premiership nearly 20 years ago. Fans will worry that selling Rooney could mean money to pay off mounting debt accumulated by the owners. However even if Ferguson were given money to spend (assuming Rooney were sold) who would he buy? Rooney is a genuine world-class English player. There are few out there that could replace the man who was unstoppable last year.

Messi won’t leave Barcelona. Ronaldo has already left Manchester. Even Sneijder wouldn’t have the overall impact or subscribe to the Manchester United ethos the way Rooney has.

We wait with bated breath to see the reaction from Old Trafford. The club already issued a statement today claiming suggestions of a January move were “nonsense.” However banning reporters from asking about Rooney after Saturday’s game has spectacularly backfired. With a Champions League tie coming up we will know soon enough where Rooney figures in United and Alex Ferguson’s plans.

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