Over the weekend many would have thought that the biggest news story surrounding Man Utd would be the 2-2 draw at home to West Brom on Saturday, which saw Man Utd again lose a two goal lead to get their fifth draw of the league season. However the biggest story of the weekend was the news than Wayne Rooney is refusing to sign a new contract with the club and could leave as early as January.
Wayne Rooney has been in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons over the past couple of months with his form appearing to suffer for it. His performances in Man Utd shirts have been a shadow of what we have come to expect. The club have left him out of important matches appearing to want to protect the player but it appears as if there has been more to it with rumours that Rooneys relationship with manager Sir Alex Ferguson has deteriorated, possibly beyond repair.
The stories surrounding Rooneys refusal to sign a new contract are varied with some stating that the club simple won't meet his wage demands with others seeming to point directly to his relationship with his manager.
Unsurprisingly there will be a number of clubs interested in signing Rooney with Chelsea, Man City, Barcelona and Real Madrid all clubs linked with possible moves. Man City are thought to be the early favourites being able to meet the transfer fee and salary demands. Whether he will be seen in the new Man Utd shirt next season remains to be seen.
The speculation surrounding Rooney is the last thing Man Utd need. The club are not too far behind in the league at the moment but need to start wining games if they are to realistically compete for the title this season and with their top striker possibly looking towards the exit door it doesn't exactly inspire the other players in the team who looked to Rooney last year to drive the team forward.
There are sure to be a number of developments over the coming weeks with this story but if it proves to be true, and Rooney is heading for the exit door, then this will intensify the need for Man Utd to invest considerably in their squad. Man Utd already look weak in some positions and depend on players that are coming to the end of their careers. These players need to be replaced with top quality players and if Rooney goes, potentially relatively cheaply, it will be near on impossible to replace everyone with players of a similar standard.
Written by Colin Hill, a sports writer who blogs about football shirts.