His eight goals so far this term for Manchester United and England suggest Wayne Rooney is enjoying his football again at Old Trafford, but the Croxteth native has yet to enter into new contract talks with only 20 months left on his current deal.
Red Devils chief executive Ed Woodward’s recent claim that the 28-year-old is ‘irreplaceable’ will be tested to the full over the next few months with Chelsea poised to try again with a bid for Rooney in January having failed to land their number one target over the summer.
Rooney’s fourth Premier League goal of the campaign sees him four behind leading scorer Daniel Sturridge and the former Everton youth can be backed at 22/1 to be top of the charts in May.
Despite his impressive start to the season Rooney is still thought to be considering his future at Old Trafford.
The furore over an alleged transfer request over the summer – which Sir Alex Ferguson claims the Liverpudlian handed in and the player denies – coupled with new boss David Moyes’ perceived slight when commenting that he needed the forward as cover for Robin van Persie led many of the Old Trafford faithful to believe that Rooney’s days in the red of United were numbered.
Circumstances have taken over and the England striker has shown how little all the summer transfer talk has affected his game, but Rooney’s camp was thought to have rejected a request from the club to open talks over a new deal earlier this month.
Rooney’s departure would free-up funds for Moyes’ vital rebuilding job at United.
The former Everton boss missed out on most of his transfer targets over the summer and has since added acquiring a centre-half to a list of priorities that already included bringing in a midfield playmaker and a left-back.
United already have an oven-ready replacement for Rooney at the club in the shape of Japan international Shinji Kagawa and with the finances at Old Trafford squeezed relative to nouveau riche rivals Man City and Chelsea, the club may see value in moving on a player that will be pushing 30 at the end of his current deal.
With less than two years left on the player’s contract United may feel forced to sell their star if a big bid is lodged in the next transfer window.
Chelsea’s strong start to their Premier League campaign is even more impressive considering none of their three senior strikers have managed more than a goal each in the top flight this season.
Jose Mourinho identified Rooney as the man who could fire the Blues to title glory over the summer and another mooted £35m bid in January would have to be given serious consideration if the player hasn’t signed on for another stint in the north west between now and then.