Alex Ferguson has confirmed Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has asked for a transfer.
The England international was left out of today’s squad for the 2-1 win over Swansea at Old Trafford, because Ferguson – who retires from management at the end of the season – said the striker “was not keen to play because he has asked for a transfer”.
Rooney, who joined United from Everton in 2004, has been linked with Paris St Germain and rivals Manchester City in the past.
The 27-year-old previously asked to leave the club before signing a five-year deal in 2010.
Rooney has often had to play second fiddle to Robin van Persie this season and has not scored for the club since the middle of March.
He was not even among the substitutes at Old Trafford this afternoon.
“I don’t think Wayne was keen to play, simply because he has asked for a transfer,” Ferguson told Sky Sports 1.
“I think he wants to think it through in his mind – I think that’s a good idea. We’re not going to let him go.
“I think maybe he is a bit frustrated. He has been taken off once or twice in the past couple of weeks.”
Rumours earlier in the week suggested Rooney had asked to leave, but no official word had come from the club until Ferguson confirmed the story this afternoon.
His new manager David Moyes, who first gave Rooney his debut as a 16-year-old at Everton, will now have to tackle the fall-out of the current impasse between player and club.
Sources close to Rooney earlier this week made clear he and his representatives will adopt a wait-and-see approach to Moyes’ appointment.
Rooney has been unhappy at being played predominantly in midfield, though with Robin van Persie in the team it looks unlikely that Moyes would alter the line-up significantly from Ferguson’s first choice.
Rooney was also left on the bench by Ferguson for Real Madrid’s visit in the Champions League round-of-16 game, a decision that irked the player.
It is now anticipated by Rooney’s camp that United will make him an offer of a new contract but the level of his wages will be a decisive factor.
Rooney is reported to earn around £250,000 a week on his current deal, and the club would be reluctant to increase it – and he would certainly not accept a pay cut.
Moyes and Rooney have had their differences in the past, particularly when the manager won substantial libel damages, which he donated to charity, over remarks about him in the player’s autobiography. That has been smoothed over however and is no longer regarded as an issue in their relationship.