Rooney future in doubt
United striker could leave Old Trafford
Last Updated: 18/10/10 6:21pm
Wayne Rooney could be on his way out of Manchester United after negotiations over a new deal at Old Trafford broke down.
The England international's current contract expires at the end of next season and if he does not agree fresh terms the Red Devils could see their most valuable asset leave for nothing.
Sky Sports News sources understand that Rooney has become frustrated by a breakdown in his relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson, while a relative lack of investment in new players in recent times is also a concern.
United took the rare step of issuing a statement on Sunday, claiming that reports that Rooney could be sold in the January transfer window were 'nonsense'.
But it has since emerged that the 24-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford in a £20million deal in the summer of 2004, is now considering calling time on his career with United.
The striker has been thrust under the spotlight this season following allegations over his private life, while his on-field performances have failed to rise from the doldrums of the summer's miserable World Cup with England.
Ferguson left Rooney on the bench for Saturday's 2-2 draw with West Brom at Old Trafford, just days after the striker played 90 minutes for his country and publicly contradicted his manager's assertion that he was suffering from an ankle injury.
The former Everton youngster was in breathtaking form for much of last season before sustaining an ankle problem against Bayern Munich at the end of March, from which point on he has looked a shadow of his former self.
In the 21 games prior to the injury in the first leg of United's UEFA Champions League quarter-final exit, Rooney had scored 22 goals from open play. In the 21 games since, he has found the net just once from open play.
Rooney would not be the first big name to leave Old Trafford after falling out with Ferguson, as David Beckham, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy will all testify.
But to see the man who became the focal point of United's attacks last term following the £80million sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid depart would be a major setback to the North West giants.
Rooney's apparent unhappiness at Old Trafford is expected to alert the few elite clubs who could find the funds to secure his services, with Real, Barcelona, Chelsea, and even the unthinkable prospect of a move across Manchester to City all mooted.