Wayne Rooney said he wants to leave Manchester United because he’s concerned about the 18-time English soccer champion’s ability to sign new players.
Rooney met with United Chief Executive Officer David Gill last week, according to a statement from the player cited by the U.K.’s Press Association.
“He did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad,” Rooney said in the statement. “I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract.”
Rooney said he owes coach Alex Ferguson “a huge debt,” even after the pair’s recent disagreements. Ferguson yesterday said the England forward told him he wants to leave the club, a three-time European champion.
“For me it’s all about winning trophies, as the club have always done under Sir Alex,” Rooney said. “Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.”
U.K. media reports linked Rooney with billionaire-owned Manchester City, one of the few English clubs that might be able to afford the player. City manager Roberto Mancini said his club hasn’t contacted Rooney and there has “never” been contact between the two sides.
“Rooney is a great player but I think he’ll stay at United,” Mancini said today at a press conference. “He is a United player. It’s not correct to speak about” possibly signing Rooney, he added.
The Daily Mirror reported yesterday that City is ready to put together a 100 million-pound ($157 million) package for Rooney. The club would pay 50 million pounds as a transfer fee and pay him another 50 million in wages over four years. Today, the Daily Telegraph said Chelsea would offer 20 million pounds for the player, knowing that Ferguson doesn’t want to sell him to City.
Rooney has struggled this season, scoring just one goal, after injuries and media reports about his personal life limited his playing time. He’s had disagreements with Ferguson, and failed to score at this year’s World Cup, when England crashed out against Germany in the round of 16.
The forward was taken off in the 60th minute in the last game he started, against Bolton on Sept. 26, and sat out the next two games because Ferguson said he was injured.
“The player says he’s adamant, he wants to leave,” Ferguson said yesterday. “We have to deal with the next part of that, as best we can. I can do no more than what we’ve said and done at the moment.”
Rooney contradicted his manager after playing in England’s 0-0 draw with Montenegro on Oct. 12, saying he “didn’t know” why Ferguson thought he was injured. The coach said he wanted to rest the striker, who hasn’t scored for United in open play since March, when he got the club’s goal in a 2-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.
Rooney came on as a substitute in a home draw with West Brom four days ago as United lost a 2-0 lead, drawing 2-2.
The 24-year-old has been under media scrutiny because of allegations about his personal life. Ferguson left him out of a Sept. 11 game at former club Everton rather than subject him to potential fan abuse and said yesterday that he told Rooney he must “honor and respect the club’s traditions.”
“I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC,” Rooney said. “How could I not have, given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?”
Rooney left his boyhood team Everton to join United for 27 million pounds in 2004. He scored a hat-trick against Fenerbahce in the Champions League in his first game for his new club, making him the first United player in 99 years to get three goals in his debut.
Rooney was hurt in practice yesterday and won’t play in tonight’s Champions League match against Bursaspor of Turkey. He’s scored once this season for the club, a penalty in a 3-0 defeat of West Ham in August, and has 132 goals in 289 appearances.