x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rooney is 'delighted' at new deal

The striker signs five-year contract as Manchester United resolve differences with player, but he is injured for three weeks.

Wayne Rooney leaves Carrington training ground yesterday.
Wayne Rooney leaves Carrington training ground yesterday.

Wayne Rooney agreed to a revised contract at Manchester United yesterday as Sir Alex Ferguson emerged victorious from a battle to keep his most important player at the club.

A combination of the manager's deft application of public pressure and a shortfall of options for a January transfer contributed to the striker's decision to sign a new contract that will run until June 2015.

The England international, who will turn 25 tomorrow, will receive a significant improvement on his £5.3 million (Dh30.5m) gross salary, but did not achieve the £260,000 per week wages his agent had circulated as an asking price.

As revealed by The National yesterday, Manchester City declined to bid for Rooney when alerted to his availability in August and remained unconvinced about the merits of a January acquisition. Such caution from football's most affluent club was coupled with a determination by Chelsea not to break their £150,000 per week wage ceiling for the striker.

Barcelona also passed up the opportunity to bid for Rooney both in the summer and in January, while there were financial and political arguments against Real Madrid's involvement. When Ferguson revealed Rooney's decision to withdraw from contract talks in an unprecedented press conference on Tuesday, the player and his agent, Paul Stretford, were placed in a difficult position.

An attempt to justify Rooney's refusal to sign - in a statement that questioned the quality of United's squad and the club's ambition - led to a series of supporter protests, including death threats. Rooney said he then instructed Stretford to negotiate a solution.

"Since it's become public knowledge, it meant we had to move quickly," Rooney said. "Once it all came out, it looked like there was nowhere to go, and that was it. The manager quite openly made it clear that the door was still open for me to sign and that he still wanted me to sign.

"That's when I spoke to my agent and said, 'Let's sit down with them and try to resolve it and try and get the deal done.' We went and spoke to the manager, David Gill and the Glazers [United's owners]. And I'm just pleased we worked it out. I'm delighted to sign another deal at United. In the last couple of days, I've talked to the manager and the owners and they've convinced me this is where I belong.

"I said on Wednesday the manager's a genius and it's his belief and support that have convinced me to stay."

Ferguson, whom the Glazers allowed to lead United's campaign to retain Rooney, said the player had apologised for his conduct.

"Sometimes when you're at a club you think things are better elsewhere," Ferguson said. "But once the news came out that Wayne wanted to leave, the publicity and impact that had, and the response it generated about how big Manchester United is, resonated with him quite a lot.

"He apologised to me and the players this morning, and I think he'll do that with the fans, which is important, because we've all been hurt by the events of the last couple of days. I always feel it's a quality in a person to say he's sorry. He realises he's made a mistake, and that happens, particularly with young people."

Ferguson also announced that Rooney will miss the next three weeks because of ligament damage to his left ankle suffered in training on Tuesday.

 

sports@thenational.ae