David Moyes prepares himself for his first official day as Manchester United manager tomorrow with a fairly full in-tray to sort through.
It is too simplistic for Moyes to want this delicate matter settled quickly. That can only happen if player and manager are of one mind and wish for Rooney to remain.
Yet such a scenario comes with a significant clause – an apology for Alex Ferguson’s claim Rooney slapped in a transfer request. That wouldn’t go down well with Ferguson and Rooney’s heart might not be in it anyway.
With Shinji Kagawa, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck all operating out of position last season, has the time come for ties to be severed? If that is the case, no resolution can be anticipated until much nearer the transfer window.
With Mike Phelan, Rene Meulensteen and Eric Steele all gone, it is an open secret Steve Round, Chris Woods and Jimmy Lumsden will be following Moyes to United from Everton. The big unknown is whether Phil Neville will be accompanying them.
It might be an astute move given his intimate knowledge of life at Old Trafford.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT
Moyes should not underestimate the seismic impact Ferguson’s exit has had.
One of the masterstrokes of his predecessor’s reign was an ability to generate immense loyalty and create a family environment at Carrington. Moyes must embrace that.
Since Cristiano Ronaldo departed in 2009, it has been widely claimed United’s midfield is substandard.
Amazingly, they have still won two Premier League titles and lost the other two by a single point and on goal difference respectively.
But with Paul Scholes retired for good, Darren Fletcher facing a battle just to save his career and Anderson surely out of last chances, reinforcements are needed.
Thiago Alcantara would be a handy purchase from Barcelona. But Moyes needs more and PSV’s Kevin Strootman would be a useful addition.
BIG NAME SIGNING
The return of Ronaldo would be a real signal of intent by United, and handy in making a post-Ferguson Old Trafford look an attractive proposition.
To a slightly lesser extent the same could also be said of Gareth Bale. But any signing has to fit into a team pattern, and not dilute the impact of Robin van Persie.
A bid was lodged last week and attempts to land the England man will continue.
Baines is a much improved player and deadly at set pieces.
But his arrival would places a question mark over the future of Patrice Evra.
Ferguson’s relationship with the press was difficult at times but on his day he was capable of creating a headline with a single sentence.
Moyes can also be confrontational when the mood takes him, but in his early days at least the Scot must tread carefully as he will not be afforded the deference Ferguson enjoyed.