x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Eastlands chiefs play waiting game over Rooney

No rush to make a bid for England star and the striker could have overplayed his hand with Manchester United as rivals City seem happy with their lot.

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak, right, and Garry Cook, the chief executive, left, will be monitoring the situation with Wayne Rooney at Manchester United.
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak, right, and Garry Cook, the chief executive, left, will be monitoring the situation with Wayne Rooney at Manchester United.

Manchester City believe they are in a position of strength in determining Wayne Rooney's future and do not intend to rush into making an offer to sign the striker in January.

City know they can outbid any potential rival for Rooney's services should Manchester United accede to the player's desire to leave Old Trafford. However, senior decision-makers at Eastlands will have to be convinced that Rooney represents a sensible addition to an already expensively reconstructed squad.

City were made aware of Rooney's intention to leave United during the latter stages of the summer transfer window. At that point they decided against bidding for the player, who, at that stage, could have commanded a transfer fee of between £50million (Dh289.5m) and £70m - a big investment to make in a player who had performed significantly below expectation at the World Cup.

Instead, City will continue to play a waiting game after examining the effectiveness of a Premier League record close season spend on five senior players. They have been impressed with the initial performances of David Silva and Mario Balotelli, plus the continued development of Adam Johnson and are excited about the imminent return of Mario Balotelli.

Tellingly, City have been unimpressed by Rooney's actions in releasing a public statement of his dissatisfaction at United. On Wednesday, the 24-year-old issued a press release in which he said: "I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract.

"During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world. I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad. I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract."

While leaving room for United to agree an improved deal with Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson has responded to the player's attempts to leave with a mixture of bemusement and anger. The manager's press conferences ahead of and following Wednesday's Champions League victory over Bursaspor helped turn supporters' opinion against Rooney. .

"Some players think it is better somewhere else,' said Ferguson. 'It does not really work. Sometimes you look in a field and see a cow and think it's a better cow than the one you have in your own field. It rarely works out that way. It's probably the same cow as you have, or it's not as good. We don't want this to carry on, don't want it to become a saga. What is really important is for us to put this to bed."

Rooney's criticism of the Manchester United squad has also been poorly received by senior figures within it. Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Patrice Evra have all responded negatively with the latter saying: "If one player in the team doesn't trust the others he should not play in the team. Me, I'm not in that point. I trust everyone - and I know we can win."

Though Rooney's actions have been at least partly motivated by a belief that City will match his demands to be made the Premier League's best paid footballer, there is a danger that he has overplayed his hand. In contrast, City's confidence that they can outmuscle any other suitors should they elect to sign Rooney does not seem misplaced.

Chelsea have reined in spending significantly as they prepare to meet Uefa Financial Fair Play rules and are not keen to overhaul their wage structure for the player. Barcelona, also offered Rooney by a third party in the summer, considered him too expensive then and have ruled out a move in January.

sports@thenational.ae