Rooney to push again for Manchester United exit in Moyes showdown talks

The forward will meet with his manager at Carrington this week and again tell the new Old Trafford boss that he wants to leave the club in order to join Chelsea this summer

SPECIAL REPORT
By Jonathan Birchall

David Moyes will this week come face to face with Wayne Rooney for the first time in nearly a month as the pair prepare for crunch talks over the forward’s Manchester United future.

Rooney, who has been in rehabilitation at the club’s Carrington training base following a hamstring injury sustained two days into United’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia, has agreed in principle to join Chelsea for £200,000-a-week. Moyes, however, insists that the 27-year-old is not for sale under any circumstances and the Premier League champions have dismissed an offer of £20 million from the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Now, the pair will sit down for talks this week. Moyes is set to reiterate that he wants the England star to remain a United player, while Rooney remains intent on leaving.

WAYNE’S WORLD

ROONEY’S PREMIER LEAGUE STATS (2012-13)
APPEARANCES
27
GOALS 12
ASSISTS 10
TOTAL SHOTS
86
SHOTS ON TARGET
35
SHOTS BLOCKED
20
SHOTS OFF TARGET 31
SHOT ACCURACY 53%

They must also assess and decide whether the striker can travel with the squad ahead of the club’s next pre-season friendly in Stockholm on August 6. Despite the propaganda frenzy, it is not yet certain whether Rooney can or will travel.

Despite reports to the contrary, though, the pair’s relationship is cordial. They may not have met in person since July 11 due to the club’s exhaustive tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, but they have spoken over telephone, in conversations that were described as “amicable” by club sources. Moyes took the opportunity to clarify quotes to the press in which he described the striker as a “back-up” to Robin van Persie, insisting to Rooney that those quotes were taken out of context and that he remains a key member of his squad.

Yet Rooney, despite appreciating his manager’s gesture of goodwill after having made it known that Moyes had left him “angry and confused”, has maintained that he wants to leave following a season in which his relationship broke down with Sir Alex Ferguson and the United hierarchy.

Moyes, meanwhile, has been on the charm offensive. He has peppered the “brilliant, outstanding, exceptional” Rooney with compliments to the press throughout the club’s pre-season tour.

It is rank politicking. While Rooney has trained and recovered largely alone over the past three weeks, friendly but distant with Carrington staff, Moyes and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward have privately discussed his exit from the club.

Some at Carrington believe his best days are gone for good. The club simply do not want to offer him a long-term contract.

However, despite an intense and rather ugly spout of media briefings from United, Chelsea and Rooney’s camp a fortnight ago, the latest line from Manchester and west London is the same. No news. No bids. Deadlock as it stands, with a saga running until the very last throes of the transfer window appearing ever more likely.

A complicated and drawn out game is developing. Chelsea know they must pay more than their most recent offer of £20m and are willing to do so to facilitate a move, but have been left waiting on United and Rooney’s camp themselves. The forward asked England colleagues Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole about Mourinho, while admitting to friends that he will have to submit a transfer request to secure a move. He, like Chelsea, is open to the idea but has been told to stay patient by agent Paul Stretford, who remains wary of his client’s public reputation – already sullied in the eyes of many United fans.

Moyes knows that Rooney cannot be sold without at least one major transfer arriving at Old Trafford beforehand. Having missed out on Thiago Alcantara and with their pursuit of Cesc Fabregas growing increasingly futile, United’s great hopes this summer, publicly paraded, risk proving both unsuccessful and even embarrassing. The former Everton boss is keen on bringing both Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines to United, but such is the new regime’s desire to make a statement of intent that the big, Hollywood names continue to be linked. Moyes’ admission that the Fabregas chase could soon be over was used to temper the fans’ great expectations.

And yet despite the stalled rhetoric and glacially-paced game of tit-for-tat, one man perseveres in driving a potential move: Jose Mourinho.

The new Chelsea boss has made clear to the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, including owner Roman Abramovich, that Rooney is his number-one target this summer. Behind the scenes, the self-proclaimed Special One is pulling out all the stops to bring the forward to west London.

Mourinho feels that Rooney’s pace and power would enable him to fit neatly into the sit-and-sting 4-2-3-1 approach that brought him so much success in seasons past. Flanked by the likes of Oscar and Eden Hazard; the United man would be the focal point of the Portuguese’s new Chelsea side.

The financial and political significance of Rooney at Old Trafford in an unprecedented summer of transition for the Premier League has created a perfect storm from which all parties could benefit; Rooney wants out, United are open to selling and Chelsea will pay the asking price. But it is a storm that all parties are looking to weather their own way. Moyes and the forward’s meeting this week is the next step in the process. Mourinho will sit, wait and see if either man blinks.

The multi-million pound game of chess is well under way.

Lewandowski: I will give everything for Dortmund

The striker has assured supporters he will do his utmost for the team on the pitch this year despite his public desire to leave the club

Robert Lewandowski has vowed to “give everything” for Borussia Dortmund this season despite the uncertainty surrounding his future.

The Poland international has long been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, although BVB’s determination to hold on to their star striker means he is likely to see out his contract with the club, which expires next summer.

Lewandowski recently admitted his public desire to leave Signal Iduna Park had caused “trouble” amongst some of his team-mates but, after featuring in Dortmund’s 4-2 DFL-Supercup win over Bayern on Saturday, he has assured supporters his sole focus will be on performing well when he wears the Schwarzgelben shirt.

“I will give everything for Dortmund, no matter what. When I stand on the pitch and play, I think of BVB. I will do my best and be successful,” he was quoted as saying by Bild.

“I hope that [Supercup] was not the last trophy.”

Liverpool should offload Suarez as soon as possible, warns Barnes

The former Reds winger has urged the club to sell the wantaway striker because there is no way of guaranteeing his commitment to the side should he remain at Anfield

Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes says the club should aim to sell Luis Suarez as soon as possible.

Goal revealed that the striker is preparing to hand in a formal transfer request in order to secure a move to Arsenal, who submitted an improved £42 million bid for the Uruguay international last week.

Barnes has urged the club to sort out the striker’s future quickly because he fears they will have no time to find and secure an adequate replacement should he leave.

“We’ve seen in the past when transfers go down to the last minute that it doesn’t help anybody, especially for a club like Liverpool who, if they lose Suarez, would have to find a big-name replacement,” he told talkSPORT.

“I’d like it to be done sooner rather than later because if it goes down to the last day, and you then have to go and get somebody, it’s not ideal.

“As far as Suarez is concerned, if he’s not going to be happy, then he has to go.

“We can all say, ‘yes, we think Suarez is going to be a player like Carlos Tevez, who gives 100 per cent no matter what’ but we don’t know what his mental state is going to be if he doesn’t get his wish [to leave the club].”

Volkswagen boss urges Wolfsburg to make Luiz Gustavo move

The Brazilian has been linked with a switch to Dieter Hecking’s side this summer although he has denied he is keen to quit Bayern Munich

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has urged Wolfsburg to step up their pursuit of Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo.

Dieter Hecking’s side confirmed earlier this month they were interested in signing the Brazil international, who has slipped down the pecking order at the Allianz Arena following the summer arrivals of Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara.

Winterkorn, whose VW Group owns the Bundesliga outfit, has now backed die Wolfe to continue their efforts to sign the midfielder, despite his claims he is happy to stay at Bayern.

“I say, if a player is on the market, efforts should be made to get him,” the 66-year-old told Bild when asked about the player.

The 26-year-old Luiz Gustavo, who joined Bayern from Hoffenheim for €17 million in 2011, has a contract until June 2015.

Casillas: We must be grateful to Mourinho

The Spain captain believes the Portuguese coach made an important contribution to Real Madrid during his three-year spell and believes Gareth Bale is one of Europe’s very best

Iker Casillas insists he is grateful to former Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho for his contribution to the success of the club.

Mourinho won three trophies during his three-year stint at Santiago Bernabeu, although the latter part of his tenure is best remembered for a public fall-out with Casillas which led to the club captain being frozen out of the first team.

Casillas, however, has stressed that the current Chelsea boss’ efforts in La Liga cannot be ignored, although he is relishing the prospect of beginning a new campaign under replacement coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“I’ve only been training with Carlo, I don’t know what differences there are [between Ancelotti and Mourinho], but it’s not a question of looking back. You have to be grateful for Mourinho’s contribution to Real Madrid, but now we have to start with the hope that the club can be at the top,” he told a press conference.

“He’s a winner, that’s obvious to everyone, but he’ll make it clear from the beginning. This club was on the edge of titles last season; we want to complete our objectives in all three competitions.”

Madrid have been heavily linked with a renewed push for Tottenham star Gareth Bale in the coming weeks, with Spurs determined to hold on to their star man despite his desire to leave, and Casillas is not surprised to see los Blancos once again chasing one of Europe’s finest.

“We’re talking about a player who, frankly, is one of the best three or four players in Europe, and it’s normal to talk about him,” the 32-year-old said.

“We’re talking about a decisive player. The market is still open and I’m sure someone will arrive here before the beginning of the Liga season.”

Finally, Casillas says competition for places at the club is good under Ancelotti – but admitted he was desperate to regain his No.1 spot next season.

“Competition is always healthy. There are very good goalkeepers here and we must learn to live with that. I hear a lot about competition for my post, but in other parts of the pitch there are two or three players for one position as well,” he added.

“I would love to be No.1 keeper. I work for it. But if you ask the others, they’re going to say the same. You have to compete to play in the XI of Ancelotti. I will have to fight as I always have.”