Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Are Magpies really going to buy Wayne Rooney?

Transfer saga takes a bizarre twist

Wayne Rooney has made a transfer request
Wayne Rooney has made a transfer request
Mike Ashley
A heavily pregnant Coleen Rooney with husband Wayne Rooney and their son Kai, on the pitch to celebrate Manchester United winning the Barclays Premier League
Manchester United fans show their support at Old Trafford
Wayne Routledge of Swansea City tangles with Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Paul Scholes of Manchester United is substituted in his final game for the club during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Javier Hernandez of Manchester United reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand celebrates scoring their second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Paul Scholes of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Danny Welbeck of Manchester United hurdles the tackle of Leon Britton of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Phil Jones (right) and Nemanja Vidic (left) battle for the ball with Swansea City's Nathan Dyer during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea watches a shot from Swansea City's Wayne Routledge (left) go just wide of the post during the Barclays Premier League match
A banner is held by Manchester United fans in the stands honouring their manager Sir Alex Ferguson, before the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
A Paul Scholes banner prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City
A Manchester United fan shows off his pins prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City
Merchandise dedicated to outgoing manager Sir Alex Ferguson is on sale before the match
Manchester United fans wearing shirts to honour Sir Alex Ferguson
Miguel Michu of Swansea City scores his team's first goal to make the score 1-1 during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford
Javier Hernandez of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the opening goal
Javier Hernandez of Manchester United scores the opening goal
Javier Hernandez of Manchester United (l) is congratulated by team-mate Patrice Evra after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City
Sir Alex Ferguson looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford
Swansea City's Miguel Michu celebrates scoring their first goal of the game
A Manchester United fan shows off a banner to honour Manager Sir Alex Ferguson
Manchester United manager Sir Alex ferguson takes his seat for his last Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex ferguson applauds fans as he walks on to the pitch before taking his seat
Sir Alex Ferguson signs autographs
Sir Alex Ferguson looks lost in thought as he emerges from a guard of honour, before his last home match in charge of the club at Old Trafford
The players form a guard of honour as Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson walks out prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez scores their first goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Swansea City's Jonathan de Guzman and Manchester United's Robin van Persie (right) battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Swansea City's Wayne Routledge and Manchester United's Paul Scholes (centre right) battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match

As speculation rages regarding Wayne Rooney's future at Manchester United, news of an unlikely destination for the striker in the Premier League has emerged.

Newcastle United have suddenly become one the clubs hungry to add the England international to their ranks.

A report on the Sports Direct website – the retail company owned by the Newcastle United owner, Mike Ashley – claims the north-east club are trying to sign the player.

Rooney was targeted by Newcastle before he moved to United from Everton in 2004 – the Magpies offered the Toffees £25m for his services – and as extraordinary as it sounds, a deal this summer is not beyond the realms of possibility.

The Magpies have not been afraid to aim high in the transfer market in the past since Alan Shearer joined his hometown club in 1996 for the then world transfer record-breaking £15m.

The club also swooped for Michael Owen after the striker left Real Madrid.

Now that their Premier League future has been secured, United chiefs could open the chequebook again.

Some football fans, though, remain to be convinced by the story, dismissing it as a 'blatant publicity stunt.' The report on Sports Direct News, a subsidiary of Sports Directs, states that Newcastle "have already sounded out Rooney's agent over a potential move."

It adds that a source "close to negotiations" says: "Newcastle see Wayne as their ideal player. He's a strong centre-forward, would relate to the fans and would be a massive boost to the club's brand name.

"Low-level conversations have already been held between Newcastle and Rooney's agent, though the two clubs have not spoken directly yet."

Little credence has been put in the story with users on Twitter suggesting it is a cynical ploy to drive people to the Sports Direct website.

The high street retailer – for which Ashley (pictured) acts as executive deputy chairman – launched a sports news service last week to cover major sports.

The website carries advertising for Sports Direct products and promotions and is a joint venture – believed to have cost £1m to launch – between the retailer and media company, My London News.

Rooney has told United he wants to leave Old Trafford in the summer, sparking interest across Europe from the likes of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

But while Bayern Munich have dismissed claims they are interested in signing the 27-year-old, Newcastle United appear to have placed their cards on the table.

The unexpected interest from the north-east giants could provide a bizarre twist to the Rooney saga but there are also indications the striker is having a change of heart and now hopes to extend his stay at the Theatre of Dreams under new boss David Moyes.

Moyes, who successfully sued Rooney in 2008 for comments made in the former Everton hero's autobiography, has extolled a player whose future now lies in his hands once again.

"I don't watch all the Manchester United games, I have had my own job," Moyes said during a speech to Cambridge University's Union Society on Monday.

"But I do see international games and you are talking about one of the best players in the world. If you are an England supporter, you are thinking what a great player you have.

"If you are from Scotland, you're saying, 'Oh no!' But he is a brilliant player. He has had a very good career."

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