There has been widespread speculation over the possibility of Arsenal making a sensational swoop for one of the Premier League’s iconic players, Wayne Rooney. The England superstar has long been considered one of the league’s best players, if not it’s single best player, and the effect of his transfer would no doubt change the Premier League landscape. There are some important aspects which must be considered however, an a suspicion remains that Rooney would be far from a perfect fit at Arsenal.
Firstly there is the issue of his fitness. Rooney is approaching a stage in his career in which his progress will be determined by his professionalism and attitude towards football and fitness. Players like Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs have sustained their level well into their thirties through a diligent fitness regime, and self-discipline regarding things such as alcohol and cigarettes. Rooney is known to enjoy a drink and a smoke, which suggests that his career won’t enjoy the longevity of those around him unless he makes a dramatic alteration to his lifestyle.
Evidence to this is that van Persie, who is several years Rooney’s senior, appears fitter and quicker than Rooney, on whom his lifestyle is evidently taking its toll. Van Persie seems like a player whose model Rooney should be trying to follow, a model professional who does everything to stay on top of his game. The goalscoring chart tells its own story, and is a testament to the Dutchman’s professionalism.
Fitness-wise therefore, Rooney doesn’t seem to be the best investment for Arsenal if they are looking to break the bank. Smashing the transfer record on a player who seems doomed to never recovering his past form, and who’s best years are behind him, seems rather ill-considered.
It’s hard to believe also, that Arsene Wenger would abide by a player who even Sir Alex Ferguson struggled at times to keep in check. Rooney’s career is due in large part to the departing Scotsman, who signed him from Everton as an 18 year old. It is this fact which makes it shocking that Rooney even considered transferring to Manchester City, an act of betrayal which would have held serious consequences for the player’s popularity.
The reason for his submission of a transfer request too, indicates that he wouldn’t suit the Gunners, a lack of ambition was stated by Rooney as being the reason why he wanted to leave. It is shocking that a player can question the ambition of a club such as Man United, and a manager such as Ferguson, and Wenger will be wary of Rooney’s rebellious tendencies.
Aside from questionable fitness and motivations, Rooney’s wages would be an obvious sticking point. Arsenal could in theory afford his £250,000 a week wages, but would he be worth it? The only players worth that kind of money are arguably Ronaldo and Messi, who have proven unrivalled consistency and professionalism throughout their careers. Putting that kind of outlet out on Rooney would seem an unnecessary and foolish risk to take by Arsenal.
No doubt the stories will continue to run, it is an interesting move hypothetically and the glamour of it certainly sells papers; but there are some strong reasons why in reality, the move would be a mistake on Arsenal’s part.
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This article was first posted on May 28, 2013