Dramatic u-turn as Wayne Rooney signs five-year deal
Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year contract with Manchester United, believed to be worth £150,000 per week, after receiving assurances from the Glazer family that they are committed to keeping Manchester United rolling in silverware.
• Wayne Rooney drives away from Manchester United's Carrington training complex after signing a new five-year deal with the club just two days after announcing his intention to leave Old Trafford Picture: PA
Although Rooney was condemned for releasing a statement on Wednesday night, two hours before the Champions League win over Bursaspor, questioning the future direction of the club, the end outcome has brought reassurance that will go beyond the striker himself.
So many questions have been asked about the Glazers' ability to fund major purchases given the relatively low-key investments since Cristiano Ronaldo's world-record departure.
Few have been able to get any answers, beyond chief executive David Gill and Sir Alex Ferguson.
Rooney did, directly. The responses were enough to persuade him to sign a five-year contract estimated to be worth 40 million, which will make him the highest-paid player in United history.
"I care for Manchester United," he told MUTV. "And I had some concerns.
"I made David Gill and the manager aware of them but the contract talks didn't really move forward.
"Once everything become public knowledge over the last few days, it looked as though there was nowhere to go.
"But the manager made it quite clear the door was still open for me to sign. The club still wanted me to sign.
"I spoke to my agent and said 'let's go in and sit down and try to resolve it to get the deal done'.
"Now I have spoken with the manager, David Gill and the Glazers. All of them have confirmed to me this is the right club to be at and this club will continue being successful and winning things."
Ferguson has never expressed any doubt over the Glazers' commitment. Many supporters have though.
As the talisman of their team and its highest-profile player, some sort of solace can be taken by United fans, even if concern remains about the Glazers' funding of the Old Trafford outfit.
They can also be secure in Rooney's relationship with Ferguson. At the height of the storm that engulfed United earlier this week, it was hinted strongly that a major rift had developed between manager and player, who were no longer on speaking terms.
In referring to Ferguson as "a genius" in his own damning statement about the club's recruitment policy on Wednesday evening, Rooney quashed thatn speculation. Rooney insists Ferguson was not the sole reason for his decision to stay. But he admits the Scot is a powerful influence on his career.
"I am sure it has been difficult for him as well," acknowledged Rooney. "He has to look after the club and was trying to convince me to sign a new deal at the club.
"He is a great manager. I have said many times one of the big reasons I joined this club was to work under him, with his experience, passion and will to win. I wanted to be successful working with him. I have managed to do that. I am hoping in the next few years we can do that again."
Rooney has already been assured of Ferguson's support and on his Twitter page, Rio Ferdinand has given dressing-room approval.
"It was never in doubt in my mind," he said "Wazza is Man Utd through and through."
In all probability, United's supporters will be bellowing from the rafters too when Rooney next appears some time in November, once the ankle injury that has ruled him out for three weeks has healed.
But if there are any remaining dissenters, they will be won over in the only way the Liverpudlian knows how.
"I am sure the fans have been upset over the past few days with everything they have heard in the media," he said.
"But I care for this club. I want to be here and I want to continue being successful at this club. It might take time with some fans.
"But I am going to be giving 100 per cent, the same as always, to try and build that relationship back.
"I hope we can work together on this and do the best thing for Manchester United, which is winning trophies. I certainly can't wait to pull on the red shirt again."
He will have to wait before he gets the chance to do that again. Rooney was carried out of training on Tuesday as the storm over his future raged, and he will be out for three weeks with an ankle injury.
"I am gutted to be injured,| said Rooney. "I just want to be out there playing, get back to form and doing what I do best. And I will be back to my best. I have no worries about that."
Manchester United chief executive David Gill believes Rooney signing a new deal sends a determined message to the club's detractors.
"It's a great day for the club. To those who say Manchester United cannot compete any more, we can - and we will continue to," said Gill.
"We are here to make sure we've got a great team and do what we do off the field by investing in the team and the facilities here. I fully understand that in order to have results off the pitch we need a great team on it.
"We've been challenging at the top of the table for years and intend being there for many years to come."
On Rooney, Gill added: "By and large everyone realises he is a great player.
"I'm convinced he'll get back to that form as soon as he's fit and back on the pitch."
There are doubts, however, over the reaction of some of his team-mates, having effectively criticised them by saying that United need to attract a higher calibre of player. Former Manchester United midfielder Lou Macari feels Rooney will have to work hard to rebuild relationships
"I'm shocked. Nothing's shocked me more in football than this week," said Macari.
"I thought this week leading up to today was enough but I just couldn't believe it when I got the news today what had happened."
Rooney's statement on Wednesday said he was concerned about the "future squad" and the "continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world".
"His statement was undermining the players, was undermining the manager," said Macari. "Saying that the manager's got no ambition and the clubs got no ambition and all that. You're pointing the finger at everyone at Manchester United, not just the owners in America who probably that finger was being pointed at. So there's a bit of rebuilding to be done. I think supporters hold the key to how well Wayne does in the future, whether they're going to forgive him and accept him back."
The contract, the criticism and the cows: who said what in the week-long saga that had the whole footballing world talking
After a dramatic week, we look back at the key statements as the saga unfolded.
"To suggest Wayne Rooney will be sold in January is nonsense"
- UNITED SPOKESMAN on Sunday, 17 October
"I was in the office on August 14 and David (Gill, chief executive] phoned me to say (Rooney] wasn't signing. I was dumbfounded. Only months before he was saying he was at the greatest club in the world. I asked to have a meeting with the boy. He reiterated what his agent said, that he wanted to go"
- United manager SIR ALEX FERGUSON on Tuesday, 19 October
"I believe he is going to stay. But if Manchester United decide he is to leave, give me a call"
- JOSE MOURINHO, Real Madrid manager, on Tuesday, 19 October
"I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad. I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract. Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. For Manchester United's sake I wish he could go on forever because he's a one off and a genius"
- ROONEY, in a statement issued on Wednesday, 20 October
"If there was a possibility of Wayne Rooney staying at Manchester United that has certainly ended after tonight's statement prior to an important Champions League game. No player has ever had the right to question and seek assurances about the current and future Manchester United squad, no matter their talent and let's be honest, there have been far more talented players in the history of Manchester United"
- former United midfielder PADDY CRERAND on Wednesday, 20 October
"We don't want it to become a saga. We have the team to consider. We will put it to bed tomorrow"
- FERGUSON, speaking after Wednesday's Champions League win over Bursaspor
"Sometimes you look in a field and see a cow. You think it is a better cow than the one you see in your field. It never really works out that way"
- FERGUSON turns agricultural in his criticism of Rooney
"I think the game is in trouble and you cannot have the Bosman ruling they've got at the moment... If Alex Ferguson is being bullied by a player and his agent how wrong is the game? When are Fifa and Uefa going to listen? They say it's not fair on the player. Rubbish. The player has had his wages every week. They bought him, they worked with him, he belongs to them. It's so obvious. The world should change if it's wrong and football should look at itself.
- Blackpool manager IAN HOLLOWAY on Thursday
"Sometimes, when you're in a club, it can be hard to realise just how big it is and it takes something like the events of the last few days to make you understand. I think Wayne now understands what a great club Manchester United is"
- FERGUSON, after Rooney put pen to paper yesterday
"I am delighted to sign another deal at United.
In the last couple of days, I have talked to the manager and the owners and they have convinced me this is where I belong. The manager is a genius and it is his belief and support that convinced me to stay"
- ROONEY yesterday
"I'm shocked. Nothing's shocked me more in football than this week. I thought this week leading up to today was enough but I just couldn't believe it when I got the news today what had happened"
- Former United midfielder LOU MACARI responds after Rooney signed his new deal
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