Following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's comment that Wayne Rooney should move to PSG, Brendon Netto discusses why the Manchester United striker should stay put.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’ suggestion that Wayne Rooney should join Paris Saint-Germain “if he wants to be part of the best project in football” has inevitably fueled speculation surrounding the Manchester United striker’s future which has already been questioned this season. Robin van Persie’s arrival in the summer had already put the Englishman’s place in the starting line-up in doubt and the Dutchman’s surge past him in the goal-scoring charts earlier in the season, initiated rumours of a potential departure for the former Evertonian.
Speculation grew when Rooney was left on the bench in United’s crucial Champions League clash against Real Madrid at Old Trafford while the emerging Danny Welbeck got the nod ahead of him to feature in support of Van Persie. However, Sir Alex Ferguson has reiterated Rooney’s importance to the club and with Van Persie enduring a dry spell in front of goal, United’s number 10 has stepped up to the plate of late and delivered.
Even if Rooney was serious about leaving ‘The Theatre of Dreams’, a move to Paris doesn’t seem like a right fit for him especially at this stage of his career. Yes, PSG would be one of the few clubs around who could afford his transfer fees as well as his extravagant wages but at 27, the English international is at the peak of his powers and will want play at the highest level.
Ibrahimovic luring Rooney to Paris
PSG could offer him top-level football with respect to the Champions League where they’ve shown that they have what it takes to compete with the best in Europe but the French league isn’t quite so glamourous. Rooney enjoys the pressure and intensity of playing in the Premier League where every point counts and where every game demands the best out of him on a weekly basis.
In this season itself, the Parisian club have a comfortable lead at the top of Ligue 1 with none of the other sides capable of matching their quality. Marseille are the closest to the league leaders in the table and arguably the closest in terms of ability as well. They are also the opponents in the biggest domestic fixture PSG are involved in; Le classique but still trail their rivals by 7 points in the league.
He relishes the big occasions
While the games between the two teams are big occasions, Rooney is used to featuring in games of higher intensity regularly against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal with the Tottenham Hotspur games also starting to sneak into that bracket. The domestic league in France, simply cannot cater to the needs of the United front man in terms of quality of opposition or enormity of nearly every game. PSG are only going to strengthen in the summer and come back stronger next season, thereby widening the gulf in class between themselves and the already tame competition in the league.
PSG would certainly benefit from Rooney’s arrival which would significantly reduce their level of dependence on Ibrahimovic. Despite a lone striker’s role not being Rooney’s preferred position, he can operate in that capacity fairly competently like he did in the 2009-10 season with United when he scored 34 goals from 44 appearances.
Rooney remains an integral figure
Additionally, there is little reason for Rooney to leave the Red half of Manchester and after his near departure in 2010, he’s unlikely to make the same mistake again by taking a decision in haste. Not only does the club continue to challenge for the highest honours in the game but the influential player remains an integral figure in a star-studded squad. Despite having to share the spotlight with Van Persie, Rooney’s contribution has been massive this season. With 16 goals and 16 assists in all competitions, United’s talisman has been directly responsible for a goal every 74.87 minutes.
Rooney is a superstar but he is also a selfless team player. Time and again he’s sacrificed his preferred role for the good of the team. He loves winning trophies more than personal accolades and it’s that mindset that helped him facilitate Cristiano Ronaldo’s success while he was at the club. The Englishman often played in wide areas to accommodate the flamboyant Portuguese and with Van Persie’s arrival, he’s been willing to play second fiddle once more.
Rooney assisted Ronaldo
The former Arsenal captain arrived in red-hot form and Rooney was happy to support him and leave the goal-scoring to his strike partner but now that Van Persie has descended into a dry spell, he’s popped up with the goals when needed. You also get the sense that United are on the verge of something special. Talks of another treble-winning season ended unceremoniously with defeats to Real Madrid in the Champions League and Chelsea in the FA Cup, eliminating them from both competitions in quick succession.
However, Sir Alex is desperate to win the coveted European trophy once more before he calls time on his glorious career and a couple of good signings in the summer would grant him a fantastic squad to achieve the same. Rooney will be fully aware of the promising signs around the club and wouldn’t want to miss out on any silverware. PSG may be an intriguing prospect but there’s no reason for him to uproot himself when he has everything his heart desires right where he is.
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