London – Manchester United will invite Wayne Rooney for contract talks this autumn if he continues to show the commitment to the club that has characterised his return to Barclays Premier League action over the past 10 days.
Despite Rooney’s attempts this summer to bludgeon his way to a transfer to Chelsea, the 27-year-old will continue to be a United player after the Premier League champions refused to countenance selling him to one of their fiercest rivals.
Now, in a surprising twist, it is understood that United will open the door to talks about a new deal for the England star if the fuss of the last three months dies down once the transfer window closes next week.
United chief executive Edward Woodward intends to discuss new deals with captain Nemanja Vidic and Portuguese winger Nani before the turn of the year as both players are out of contract at the end of this season.
Rooney has a year longer to run on his current deal but Woodward plans to include the centre forward in the batch of player contracts he wants to resolve in the coming weeks. It was Woodward who said at the start of United’s tour of Asia and Australia in July that he had no immediate plans to talk about player contracts.
These comments upset Rooney greatly and only increased his desire to leave.
But it is understood Woodward always intended to turn his attention to new deals for existing players once the business of buying and selling players during the transfer window was out of the way. Rooney’s advisers are understood to be fully aware of the club’s stance and it remains to be seen if they agree to sit down and talk now that the game of cat and mouse over the move to Chelsea appears to be over.
Certainly, some of Rooney’s teammates have noticed a change in his attitude since he returned to United action as a substitute in the opening win at Swansea 10 days ago. One senior player told friends over the weekend that Rooney “has stopped moaning and started smiling again” and it is understood United officials will look to build on this over the coming weeks.
Rooney was given a starting spot against Chelsea on Monday and produced another good showing in an otherwise drab 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. Senior officials at United have been impressed with the way new manager David Moyes has handled the Rooney situation and will be guided by the Scot over if and when the player’s camp should be invited for talks.
The ball is now firmly in Rooney’s court and if his attitude does lead to talks there will still be obstacles to overcome.
Certainly, United will not offer Rooney the £250,000-a-week salary he has earned for the last three years. Any offer will be incentivised and will depend heavily on performances and appearances. Rooney may decide to sit it out on his current deal and try to get himself a move next summer. – Daily Mail