Despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s angry assertions that Wayne Rooney would be going nowhere, speculation continues to swirl over the forward’s future.
Having criticized reports that there were issues between the pair, Ferguson said that “[Rooney] will be here next year, you have my word on that.” Despite that apparently definitive claim, the matter has far from been put to bed.
It is easy to understand why. Similar statements were made by the United boss just months before both David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo were sold to Real Madrid.
There are still reports that United would consider a significant offer this summer, with The Sunday Times claiming that Bayern Munich will attempt to capture the 27-year-old. It is said that Bayern manager in-waiting Pep Guardiola is a big fan of Rooney and wants to add the forward to his squad for next season.
There has been no word from the former Barcelona boss, but Bayern honorary president Franz Beckenbauer has revealed that we would welcome the move.
"I would be very, very happy if Wayne Rooney decided to come to Bayern Munich," Beckenbauer said, according to ESPN. "But is this a rumor or is it true? I don't know!"
Meanwhile, Real Madrid have attempted to dampen speculation that Rooney’s former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo could return to Old Trafford this summer.
Emilio Butragueno, a former Madrid striker and now senior executive at the Spanish club, suggested that the Portuguese forward will remain at the Bernabeu until at least the end of his contract in 2015. Ronaldo made a similar assertion recently.
"Ronaldo is 28. He is under contract [until 2015] and we are very happy with him,” he said, according to the Guardian. “We are delighted he is at Madrid. He is a fantastic professional and very ambitious in a positive way. His contribution to the team and the club has been amazing since he arrived. We are very grateful he came to us. We are very lucky that he plays for Real Madrid.”
It is a different story in the Sun, however, with the tabloid claiming that United are still actively working to re-sign Ronaldo. The report states that United met with Nike—which sponsors both the Red Devils and Ronaldo—to discuss the feasibility of a transfer.
It is asserted that Nike could up their sponsorship offer with United in order to help them find the at least €75 million (£65.5m) it is claimed it would cost to sign Ronaldo.
According to the Daily Mirror, United have their eyes on Madrid’s other goalscorer at Old Trafford last week, Luka Modric. United were believed to be keen to sign the Croatian playmaker before he moved to Madrid last summer.
Previous to his stunning strike to help knock United out of the Champions League, Modric had been enduring a torrid time in Spain. The Mirror reports that Modric is keen on a return to the Premier League, with United believing that they would be in pole position should Madrid decide to cut their losses this summer.
Finally, there has been further news about Manchester United’s interest in Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay. The Daily Mirror reports that the Argentina international has signed up with agent Jorge Mendes, who has represented the likes of Ronaldo, Nani and Anderson during their moves to Old Trafford in recent years.
United have been heavily linked with a £25 million move for Garay.