A lot has been reported over the last few days about Arsene Wenger being interested in Wayne Rooney. Mark Urban decided to take a look at the pros and cons of the Gunners making the swoop of the summer.
This would be a signing that would genuinely get the fans excited. It has been a long time since Arsenal signed such a big name player, and to get him with arguably his best years ahead of him at the age of 27, and to sign him from one of their biggest rivals in recent years, this would be a huge statement. Wenger has come under a lot of criticism for more often than not, buying young players with potential and not spending big money on a veteran player but this would certainly go a long way to changing that.
Arsenal could definitely use a player of Wayne Rooney’s talent and ability. He has proven himself in the Premier League and is capable of changing a game as he has shown many times in a Utd shirt. A scorer of great goals and a big match player who seems to save his best performances for the big occasion, Rooney has also shown that he is a very team oriented player, setting up nearly as many goals for his team mates (10 assists) as he scored this season. Rooney has scored more than 20 Premier League goals in two separate league campaigns in the last 3 years.
His work ethic on the pitch is something Arsenal desperately need. His passion and work rate would set a great example for his team mates, no doubt inspiring them to raise their own game in the way Vieira, Bergkamp and Henry used to do in the glory days. Barring perhaps Jack Wilshere, Arsenal have no other player who is capable of this.
Rooney is willing to do whatever it takes for the cause, be it tracking back and putting his boot in, playing in midfield or just staying up front and banging them in.
A happy in-form Rooney is an asset to any team and if you believe the rumours over his unrest at Man Utd, being the first team regular he would be at the Emirates, should keep the smile on his face.
The biggest reason against signing Rooney for Arsenal would be the price tag. I can’t see Utd selling him for anything less than £40 million and he is sure to want £200k or so a week in wages. I can’t help but think that this kind of money could be better spent elsewhere.
When you look back over Rooney’s time at Utd, consistency is another thing that jumps out. When Rooney is on form he is unstoppable and he will score a hatful of goals over a short period of time but just as quickly as his goals come he will go through a dry spell and not score for a while. Also when you look at his last 4 seasons in the Premier League he scored 26 League goals in the 09/10 season then only went on to score 11 in his 10/11 campaign before getting back to his goal scoring best in 11/12 scoring 27 and again this past season dropping off to just 12. For £40 million you would need better consistency than that.
Something that might explain his up and down form over the last 4 seasons could be the fact that he has put in two transfer requests, suggesting that on at least two separate occasions, that he was unhappy at Old Trafford. The reasons for him being unhappy have never really surfaced although there have been rumours that this season’s transfer request was due to him being left out for the crunch Champions League tie against Real Madrid. A player that has a history of handing in transfer requests at a club as big as Manchester United could spell trouble down the line for Wenger when things aren’t going the way he wants them to.
So there you have it, a difficult decision for a man not known for spending huge amounts in the transfer window – especially not on one player. I wouldn’t blame Wenger for signing Rooney as a player like him doesn’t come along all that often, but for a team that has more pressing needs than just a striker / attacking midfielder I would have to pass and spread the £40 million and £200k wages elsewhere.