Andrew Smith from Top10bet.com takes a look at some of the reasons why he believes this could be Wayne Rooney’s last season at Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney is fast approaching 31, is out of-form and finds himself in an unfamiliar position as there are superior options available to current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese, a ruthless manager, has already dropped the Englishman once – so are we looking at the inevitable; Rooney’s last season at Old Trafford?
Rooney is struggling to age gracefully at an elite-level club. While legendary players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were able to adapt their game whilst at an advanced age, even playing out of the role they had long excelled in, Rooney cannot.
Rooney’s sluggish nature and slowing all-round movement is at odds in a modern game where the focus is primarily on pace.
Furthermore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a far superior option in the centre forward’s role, with five goals banked since transferring from Paris Saint-Germain.
Elsewhere, Rooney cannot oust Paul Pogba or Marouane Fellaini from deep midfield, while Marcus Rashford is quicker, Juan Mata is more creative and Anthony Martial is a more long-term option.
For Mourinho, the penny will have dropped long ago that Rooney is, at best, a bench option but even sporadic appearances may still damage the player’s reputation.
The last time Rooney enjoyed a prolific season was in 2011/2012 when he returned 27 goals from 32 appearances in the Premier League.
In 2013/2014 he made a significant contribution with 17 goals and ten assists but since then his effectiveness as an attacker has been brought into question thanks to hot and cold streaks and a goals/assists return that is inadequate for a club of United’s stature.
Judging Rooney on the last two and a half seasons alone also shows the player to be ineffective, with one goal scored for every 273 minutes (approximately three games) he competes.
There is still a good player there, somewhere, but not a great one. And he is currently at the wrong club and in the wrong league. Mourinho knows this and despite a contract that does not expire until 2019, he will likely be sold next summer or even in the January transfer window.
Make no mistakes… there will be takers. His ego would prevent a move to a mid-table club in England, or a side outside the big three in Spain, but he would be a coup for any Ligue 1 or MLS club based on value on and off the pitch.