Rooney has picked the wrong time to demand Man City-style wages

Trevor Steven
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PICTURE the scene: Wayne Rooney holding up a Manchester City shirt in January after crossing town from their most hated rivals. It couldn’t happen, could it?

Right now it seems like anything could happen. The impasse over Rooney’s new contract is a massive issue and his relationship with the club seems to be in ruins. Both he and Sir Alex Ferguson are strong characters who appear to be at odds, and the longer no-one says anything the more the issue will be magnified.

Rooney’s advisors have probably seen City paying Yaya Toure around £200,000 per week and thought they’d ask for one penny more.

But now is not a good time for the striker to demand club-record wages. He has been in woeful form since injuring his ankle in March, has off-field issues playing on his mind and he looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. If he was in the blistering form of last season he could strike while the iron was hot; at the moment it’s stone cold.

Besides, United would have to dig extremely deep to be able to offer Toure-level wages, even to Rooney. And this hardly represents the best time to cajole Ferguson, who will be furious with all his players, not just Rooney, at being fourth in the Premier League and behind City.

very big bucks

A move might seem attractive: the mind-boggling money at City, the distance from the tabloids he would enjoy in Spain. But Rooney does not seem the best suited to living abroad, where he would have to learn the language and mingle with the media. And David Beckham was still followed by paparazzi when he joined Real Madrid.

Clearly something needs to happen to resolve this deadlock. Ferguson should not do anything rash; he let Jaap Stam go in a hurry and I think he still regrets it.
Someone should sit Rooney down, meanwhile, and give him some advice: rediscover your best form before demanding very big bucks.