My reliable sources at Old Trafford told me last year that Manchester United had made a transfer bid for Robert Lewandowski, the Borussia Dortmund striker. Some of the UK media carried a smaller version of the story throughout the last summer transfer window; however, none of them had the concrete information that I had from an Old Trafford insider that Sir Alex had, indeed, made a serious offer for the player.
Now, it seems that the player has himself re-ignited the debate over this matter by telling his club and associates that he would prefer a move to the Premier League. He has also made quite clear that he is not interested in joining Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City, but wants to join Manchester United. Of course, it helps that Shinji Kagawa has given Lewandowski glowing reports of his first season at the club, especially as they are certain to be crowned champions, probably tonight.
However, his arrival will almost undoubtedly mean the departure of a current striker. Sir Alex already has four top strikers at the club, with Van Persie, Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez. It is unlikely that Sir Alex would want to juggle an extra top flight striker, as he knows from experience that it would lead to problems leaving players out of matches. He already has signs that there is discontent amongst his strikers, as witnessed by Rooney`s recent poor performances, something that the striker has told friends is due to his constantly being moved around different positions, whilst Van Persie always remains up-front.
Another player who has uttered rumblings of discontent is Javier Hernandez. Whilst Sir Alex has re-iterated his support for the player, he still feels that he is being labelled as a `super-sub`, something that will not look too good on his CV! Of course, it would be possible that Lewandowski could play up-front in a rotational plan between himself and Van Persie, but would Rooney want to be made permanently into a midfield player?
Welbeck has played on the wing for both United and England, so that would not be too much of a problem, but he, again, will be looking to play in the striker role as he improves in the future.
The key to all of this will be the next move by the club regarding Rooney`s contract, which expires in two years’ time. Sir Alex has made the surprising statement that he has not been offered a new contract yet and he will sit down and look at it at the end of the season; hardly a rush to re-sign a player who threatened to quit a few years ago!
There is a feeling at Old Trafford that should a big enough offer arrive for Rooney, the club may be tempted to sell. After all, they have younger players coming up behind him and they appear to still have the hunger and enthusiasm apparently lacking in Rooney`s appearances at the moment.
We will have to wait until the end of the season in a couple of weeks and see whether Manchester United offer Rooney a new deal or not.