What the papers are saying about the season's most sensational story so far
Last Updated: 19/10/10 10:16am
Is Rooney to turn his back on United?
There is only one story that is dominating the back pages this morning as the nationals dedicate a plethora of column inches to Wayne Rooney's possible exit from Old Trafford. The news that contract talks between Rooney and Manchester United have broken down has sent Fleet Street into a frenzy, with hacks across the country desperate to get what could prove to be the ultimate scoop. The views expressed in each publication vary but what the dailies are united on is that Rooney could be wearing blue, of the sky variety, in the not too distant future.
The Guardian says that 'Wayne Rooney is increasingly open to the idea of completing the most rancorous and staggering transfer of modern times by leaving Manchester United for Manchester City. Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, confirmed today that he would be interested in Rooney if he could establish any sense on the player's part that he would be willing to move to Stamford Bridge.
'But the reigning Footballer of the Year is leaning more towards City, acutely aware of the potential riches of joining the wealthiest club in England. Although a perception has built that he wants to move to Spain, he has told team-mates that City, not Real Madrid or Barcelona, is the more realistic destination.'
The Sun says that 'Wayne Rooney wants to quit Old Trafford because he believes the club owners lack ambition. His fallout with manager Alex Ferguson is only part of the problem for the Manchester United striker.
'Rooney was unhappy at the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid last year and also the lack of spending since. He does not want to commit himself to a five-year deal with a club that are financially struggling and no longer in the market for the world's best players. Rooney remains fiercely ambitious to continue landing the biggest titles, having won the Premier League and a European Cup with United. But he fears that is no longer a possibility at the cash-strapped club.'
The Daily Mail says that 'Wayne Rooney has told his Manchester United team-mates that he WILL consider a move from Old Trafford to neighbours Manchester City.
The United striker is considering his options after telling the club that he will not be extending the 18 months of his current contract. It emerged last night that there is real interest from City, who will have to pay Rooney £230,000-a-week to broker a deal. That would make him the highest paid player in the Barclays Premier League.
'United are unlikely to offer more than £150,000. United's players believe this contract row is purely about money - not about the breakdown of his relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson.'
The Independent says that 'Wayne Rooney can terminate his contract next summer under Fifa transfer regulations that would see Manchester United receive only £5m in return. Under the Webster ruling - named after the former Hearts player Andy Webster, who set the precedent - Rooney can buy out the final year of his contract for his current annual salary of £5m plus a relatively small compensation figure.
'As dictated by Article 17 of Fifa's transfer rules, it would dramatically reduce his current market value, which is closer to £45m.'
The Daily Telegraph says that 'Although moving from United to City would result in Rooney being vilified by the red half of Manchester, sources within the United camp have been made aware of the player's readiness to contemplate such a move. The possibility of Rooney, who celebrates his 25th birthday on Sunday, swapping red for blue is understood to be an open secret among his team-mates at United.'
The Telegraph also reckons that 'There are reservations among some influential figures at City over a move for Rooney, based on the player's off-field troubles. However, the opportunity to prise United's marquee player from Old Trafford is likely to override any issues over Rooney's suitability to become part of the Eastlands project.
The threat of losing their star player to their closest rivals has yet to prompt Ferguson or United chief executive David Gill into a concerted effort to bring Rooney back on side. Despite high-level talks between the Old Trafford decision-makers, the Glazers have made it clear to Ferguson that he has full control over Rooney's future.
The United manager will be free to decide whether Rooney stays or goes and, should he sanction the player's departure, the Scot will be in control of both the timescale and the destination.
Although Ferguson has yet to publicly disclose his intentions, the prospect of losing Rooney is understood not to be troubling the 68 year-old to the extent of the disappointment he felt when accepting that Cristiano Ronaldo should be allowed to leave United for Real Madrid in June last year.'
The Daily Mirror says that 'Manchester City are preparing to pull off the biggest transfer deal of all-time with a £100million package to land Wayne Rooney.
'The England striker has told Manchester United he has no intention of signing a new contract after falling out with boss Sir Alex Ferguson. And City are ready to take advantage of the turmoil at Old Trafford. The Eastlands hierarchy are drawing up an audacious transfer package that would see them pay United £50m for Rooney, plus another £50m in wages over a four-year deal.'
The Daily Star says that 'Manchester City plan to offer Wayne Rooney an astonishing £26m a year to clinch one of the most stunning transfers in English football history.
'It is understood City will offer Rooney a staggering £300,000 a week in basic salary to cross the divide. And Starsport has learned City are prepared to pile on an extra £200,000 in image rights to take his weekly wage to a sensational £500,000.'