Rooney WILL quit United in January
Published 03:30 17/10/10 By Simon Mullock
Wayne Rooney will quit Manchester United following a series of explosive rows with manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It is feared talks over a new contract – that would keep Rooney at Old Trafford for the peak years of his career have broken down - paving the way for the 24-year-old England international to leave United in the January transfer window.
The warring duo have barely spoken since Rooney returned from England duty last week.
Club insiders accept that Rooney’s relationship with Ferguson is beyond repair after they clashed over recent revelations about the England international’s sex shame and the subsequent decision to leave the striker out of United’s team.
Chief executive David Gill is now ready to sanction the most sensational transfer in United’s history.
Rooney’s imminent exit will cause more waves than David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo’s departures.
The bombshell news that Ferguson is preparing for life without his No 1 forward will spark a big-money fight for Rooney’s services at home and abroad.
Barcelona and Real Madrid will offer him an escape route to the continent, while Chelsea and Manchester City will give Rooney the chance to wreak havoc on United in the Premier League.
Sunday Mirror Sport can reveal that a rift between the two biggest personalities at Old Trafford began to open in the aftermath of the revelations of Rooney cavorting with vice girls at the start of September.
The scandal rocked Rooney’s marriage to childhood sweetheart Coleen and cost him a £7million sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola.
A furious Ferguson reacted by telling Rooney that his unacceptable behaviour had brought the world’s most famous club into disrepute.
The backlash from Rooney came when he was left out of the squad for the trip to his former club Everton a week after the allegations broke.
Ferguson explained that he was protecting the striker from humiliation at the hands of fans who have never forgiven him for quitting Goodison in a £20million deal in 2004.
But behind the scenes, the United boss made it clear to Rooney that his decision was based on his personal disgust about the allegations and his belief that the striker’s form would suffer.
Since then the bond between Ferguson and Rooney has been severed completely.
The United boss told Rooney that his star is beginning to fade because of off-field destractions.
His hardline stance continued when he hauled the striker off with United chasing the game at Bolton.
The United boss informed Rooney that he was set to give him a three-week break from the team and would use an ankle injury as a smokescreen.
When Ferguson asked Rooney to withdraw from the England squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, the striker refused.
Ferguson felt humiliated when Rooney subsequently played 90 minutes for Fabio Capello before announcing that he had never been less than 100% fit.
That ended any hope that the two men could rescue a relationship that an Old Trafford insider said was once like “father and son.”
A United insider added: “Rooney is one of the few players prepared to stand up to Ferguson in the United dressing room.
“There was always a lot of mutual respect between the pair, but that has disappeared in the last two months and it is clear that the animosity will never go away.”
United fans will be outraged by Rooney’s sale. They see him as their last remaining superstar following Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80million departure to Real Madrid last year.
It will also crank up the pressure on the Glazer family that own the club.
United, who announced a profit of £40million following Ronaldo’s exit, lost £83.4million last year despite posting operating profits of more than £100million.
With total debts now spiralling towards £800million, the Florida-based Glazers accept that they must cash in on Rooney now.
Rooney wanted United to double his current £100,000-a-week basic salary before the row with Ferguson blew up.
Rooney has always indicated that he is not attracted by a move abroad and has also said that a London lifestyle does not appeal because he likes being close to his Liverpool roots.
That would appear to put cash-rich City in pole position to strike another devastating blow on their bitter rivals.
Owner Sheikh Mansour is desperate to sign another stellar name following Robinho’s failure to make an impact at Eastlands - and Rooney fits the bill.
Rooney was impressed by the hero’s welcome given to Carlos Tevez 18 months ago when he quit United to join the City revolution.
A Rooney move to City would be the ultimate act of revenge on Ferguson.