United insists Rooney not for sale

Manchester United insists Wayne Rooney is not for sale after the striker indicated he wanted to leave the club.

A person familiar with the situation says that in talks with manager Sir Alex Ferguson in recent weeks Rooney said he wanted to move on from the club. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm British media reports because he was not authorized to discuss the talks publicly.

The talks took place before it emerged that Ferguson is retiring at the end of the season – an announcement only made by the 71-year-old manager on Wednesday.

United issued a statement late Wednesday to stress that ”Rooney is not for sale.”

Rooney’s United future has been clouded since he was left out of the starting lineup for the second leg of the Champions League loss to Real Madrid in March. Ferguson’s impending departure, coupled with David Moyes’ impending arrival, brings Rooney back together with his first boss at Everton.

The rift caused by comments Rooney made about Moyes in his autobiography has now been healed. However, with two years remaining on his contract, United must make a move or risk Rooney electing to let the deal run down and leave for nothing.

That is an unpalatable prospect, yet there have been suggestions Rooney will be asked to take a pay cut from the mega deal he signed in 2010 – days after handing in a transfer request – which would not go down well either.

Ferguson had not forgotten how Rooney effectively held the club to ransom in the aftermath of Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit, something he vowed not to let happen again. Moyes has none of that baggage. However, the Scot will be mindful of the need to keep Rooney fully motivated.

And with the likes of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain offering a potential way out, Moyes could easily elect to sever ties with the England man for a second time.

The Associated Press was used in this report.