In a move that will raise eyebrows around the footballing world, and, in all likelihood, produce a few knowing shrugs, too, Wayne Rooney has today signed a new five year deal with Manchester United, despite announcing previously this week his intention to leave the club for its lack of ambition.
There have been ups and downs, statements and counter-statements. Around 30 United fans last night apparently gathered outside Rooney’s Prestbury home, in order to protest Rooney’s decision and announcement that he would like to leave the biggest football club in the World.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United’s decorated manager, played his part, too, with televised press conferences and allusions to the ‘grass being greener on the other side,’ with a somewhat strange farming analogy.
Today, however, it seems the root of the issue has been fixed: Rooney now possesses a five year deal, which, one might assume, offers a substantially enhanced financial remuneration package than that which he held previously.
And all it took was a public statement.
Following today’s ‘turnaround’ Rooney called Ferguson “a genious” and also stated:
“I am signing a new deal in the absolute belief that the management, coaching staff, board and owners are totally committed to making sure United maintains its proud winning history – which is the reason I joined the club in the first place.”
Furguson bears no hard feelings from the deal – on the Manchester United website, he intimated that Rooney’s change of heart was brought about by the intense media scrutiny placed upon him this week making the player realise “what a great club Manchester United is.”
Whatever the true reasons for Rooney’s wranglings this week might be, as Blackpool manager Ian Holloway expressed in a midweek interview, the Bosman Ruling does mean that high-value players with a contract due for renewal are able to ‘turn the screws’ on their club: Holloway described this as Rooney’s attempts to “bully” Ferguson.
This debate, one would assume, is likely to continue.