The shift in power

by Ben McAleer

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Well, as they say, the writing is now on the wall for everyone to see – Wayne Rooney wants out of Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2pm (GMT) press conference confirmed the reports that had been circulating for days now in a brief and frank statement outlining Rooney’s intent to not sign a new contract, 20 months before his current deal expires in 2012. Now, even though player power has been rising since the introduction of the Bosman ruling in 1995, Rooney’s decision is the most recent of high profile cases within the Premiership.

We have to look back to 2008 and the case of Dimitar Berbatov forcing his move from Spurs to Manchester United by refusing to play under, then Spurs manager, Juande Ramos. Berbatov, eventually, got his wish and obtained the dream move to Manchester United at the last possible moment before the 2008 transfer window slammed shut. However, Berbatov’s determination to secure his move away from Spurs could have opened a can of worms for players to secure moves away from their current clubs.

Javier Mascherano was the talk of player power again during the summer transfer window as, he too, refused to play for his club in order to secure his big money move to Barcelona, a move, he claims, he was promised a year before it actually happened, albeit, to Inter Milan NOT Barcelona where he eventually found himself plying his trade. However, it has been claimed that he wanted to move for the good of his family as they were unhappy at Liverpool, not for the £ signs which has lit up Rooney’s eyes.

The news to SAF that Rooney won’t be signing a new deal must have been a knockout punch to the successful Scotsman after nurturing the raw talent Rooney showed whilst coming through the ranks at Everton. Yet, the worrying thing about the whole fiasco is the small number of clubs that can actually afford to take Rooney on. Two teams in England can afford the fee and the wages and one of those two didn’t even finish in the top 4 last season. Manchester City will rely on the money they have at their disposal and, no doubt, will throw millions Rooney’s way to persuade him to jump ship. Chelsea, on the other hand, could, perhaps, afford him yet Abramovich has insisted the big spending days are over for the blue side of West London as he tightens his purse strings.

This leaves one further option which is to leave England altogether and, potentially, play under Mourinho at Real Madrid a move that may appeal to Rooney – a fresh start in a new country where players aren’t thrust into the blinding spotlight of the media from the word Go! whilst getting the opportunity to play with former Manchester United team mate, Cristiano Ronaldo. Either way, this could be signifying the change in power at the top of the Premiership. With only Chelsea and Manchester City the only teams able to afford Rooney, Liverpool still on a slippery slope, Manchester United becoming more and more red, financially, each day and Wenger unwilling to spend the funds at his disposal to improve his Arsenal squad, the blue side of the Premiership may be on the verge of disrupting the, previously, dominating red side in the not too distant future.

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