x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Ferguson in crisis meeting over Rooney

The Manchester United manager was preparing for a crisis meeting with club officials today, seeking a swift end to the saga of Wayne Rooney's departure.

Wayne Rooney's future may be decided today.
Wayne Rooney's future may be decided today.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was preparing for a crisis meeting with club officials today, seeking a swift end to the saga of Wayne Rooney's departure.

Ferguson was due to meet United chief executive David Gill at 10am (9am GMT), one day after superstar Rooney confirmed his intention to quit the English football giants.

On Wednesday, Rooney, 24, said he was leaving because he believed the club was no longer able to match his ambition by being able to compete in the transfer market for the world's best players.

Rooney's comments effectively slammed shut any chance of the striker being able to settle his differences with club after Ferguson said on Tuesday the door was still open to a solution.

A furious Ferguson reacted by telling reporters following United's 1-0 Champions League victory Bursaspor that the club had called a meeting in order to "put the issue to bed."

"We don't want it to carry on. We don't want it to become a saga. We've got the team to consider," Ferguson said.

"That's going to be the end of it [on Thursday]. We'll carry on and dismiss everything else. We'll put it to bed."

Ferguson said Gill had spoken to United's American owners, the Glazer family, ahead of the meeting.

"David [Gill] has spoken to the owners tonight, which is important," Ferguson said. "And what is really important is for us to put this to bed."

Ferguson did not speculate on what course of action he may take but it now seems likely that Rooney has played his last game in a United shirt and that the club will seek to sell him as soon as the January transfer window opens.

Rooney, the figurehead of the United team and one of the world's most talented footballers, had stunned his employers by breaking off negotiations over a new contract and informing them he wished to leave.

With only 18 months left to run on his current £90,000 (Dh522,000) per week deal, United are now likely to offload Rooney as quickly as possible before his value, around £50 million, begins to depreciate. Rooney would be able to leave United for free if he saw out the remainder of his contract.

Most reports have said that Manchester United's hated local rivals, Manchester City, are the favourites to sign Rooney.

City, owned Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, would comfortably be able to pay both the £50 million transfer fee and Rooney's salary demands, expected to be more than £200,000 per week.

Ferguson also warned Rooney that any move to a new club was unlikely to be an improvement on United, where he has already accumulated eight major trophies in the six years since he signed from Everton as a teenager in 2004.

"Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it's a better cow than the one you've got in your own field," Ferguson remarked.

"And it never really works out that way. It's probably the same cow or not as good as your own cow. Some players like to think that it's better somewhere else. It never really works."