Wayne Rooney has signed a contract extension with Manchester United until 2019, the club announced last night.
The 28-year-old will become the best-paid player in the English champions’ history thanks to a £300,000 (€363,000) a week basic salary that starts from 2015, and is set to be a club ambassador on his retirement.
David Moyes could not confirm the news at yesterday’s pre-match press conference but his enthusiastic comments betrayed a knowledge, with United finally confirming the deal just before 8pm.
“I’m very happy to have signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United,” Rooney said in a statement on his website. “This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and to know that I will be playing here for the majority of my career is something that I’m looking forward to.”
More than anything, the extension represents a significant boost for under-pressure Moyes. Despite fair questions about the actual need for such a deal, especially given Rooney’s age and 2012-13 form, it is felt by club officials the signature is an important reassertion of their status — particularly given the widespread summer expectation he would move to Chelsea.
Rooney’s camp first entered talks just after Christmas, which United officials felt was a source of genuine encouragement given the previous reluctance. For their part, those close to the player said any resistance was never because he ever wanted to leave. Instead, they wished to pursue a ‘wait and see’ approach regarding both the club and the player’s progress. By early January, as United set out plans for squad renewal which began with the high-profile purchase of Juan Mata — and the promise of much more to follow in the summer — Rooney’s camp let it be known they would be willing to sit down. The player himself last night pointed to the signing of the Spaniard as a positive, but denied that a demand to be captain or any requested input in transfers were part of negotiations
“The future is bright for Manchester United, this is still one of the worlds leading clubs, we have seen this with the signing of Juan Mata. If you believe everything you read in the papers [any delay] was because I have been demanding to be captain and want an input into the club’s transfer policy which is totally laughable and of course untrue. The talks have taken a while but that’s not unusual, it’s been a difficult time for the club and there has been a lot going on but the talks were positive from the start.”
Rooney also denied that concerns about Champions League qualification caused hesitation. “I know that’s what some of the press thought but it’s not a massive concern for me. This is because I know the direction that this club is going in, and if we don’t make it this season then we will come back stronger and claim a Champions League spot next season.
“Let’s not forget we still have a chance this year, some of the other teams are playing well but we have a strong squad and if we have a positive end to the season then who knows what can happen.”
Moyes expressed how “thrilled” he is with the deal, as well as his hope that Rooney would surpass Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record at the club. The player admitted it is a target.
“This is definitely something I would like to achieve and do think about more, if I managed to do it it’d be something I’d be very proud of.”
The news should further lift the mood of the United camp after a recent squad trip to Dubai, as they travel to Selhurst Park this evening for an awkward fixture against Crystal Palace. A Rooney goal could be particularly important, given that Tony Pulis has overseen one of the Premier League’s best defensive records in the 14 games since he took over.
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