The news of Arsenal being able to spend like an ‘elite European club’ this season means that they might be finally able to poach players away from their rivals, beginning with Wayne Rooney, who wants out of Manchester United.
Rooney has handed in his transfer request just before the season ended, following a disappointing season in which he seemed out of form early and late for the team, doing most of his contribution in the middle of the season, scoring 16 goals in 36 matches and spending a lot of time “out of position” playing in a deeper midfield role than he’d like to be performing.
While Rooney is one of the few players in the world who is quite capable of playing very well as a striker, winger, attacking midfielder and central midfielder, he wants to be a lot more involved in the attacking game, and has already declared he won’t be willing to spend too much time in a restricted midfield role, which is something he actually tends to drop to when playing as a forward, more than once without being asked.
Would Arsenal like to have him? Despite the problems off the pitch and sometimes on it when it comes to his fitness, there is probably no club in the Premier League or the rest of Europe that wouldn’t be happy to have a player like Rooney, although it all depends on the wages he’s going to ask for, or the price United will put on the transfer.
According to the Guardian, Arsene Wenger has over £70 million to spend this summer in order to have Arsenal be more than just a team that’s competing for the fourth place and making it out of the Champions League group stage. The profits of the last few seasons have put Arsenal in a fantastic financial situation, which means an attempt to sign players that are household names instead of cheaper “finds” that don’t always pan out.
Is Rooney the right choice? It all depends on the money. If United don’t ask for more than £25 million on the player, it sounds something like Arsenal, usually after lesser-valued players, will be willing to pay. It might not bring them the kind of goal-rate Robin van Persie took with him to Old Trafford, but Rooney, when in a central role and in shape, can do a lot more than just score goals. If he’s willing to easen up on his wage demands, this sounds like a deal that can actually materialize.