Last updated : 30 August 2004 By editor

'I know just how big a club Everton are and I know, especially from my days with Liverpool, that they have a huge and loyal army of supporters. David Moyes is a talented young manager who has worked wonders on a limited budget. But there is only one thing that Rooney needs to remember – the club who want him are Manchester United and they are in a league of their own.

How many players of his stature – and we are talking about England's star at Euro 2004 – are still at a club who will struggle to finish above halfway in the Premiership this season? Name me one. It is not about his age any more it is about his standing in the game, and that has risen so high with his performances in Portugal this summer that he has to try to prove himself at a club challenging for honours.

Players with Rooney's ability should not be spending their time fighting against relegation. He is young and there are plenty who make the switch to a bigger club much later in their careers, but once the United come looking you have to move. There is still so much that can go wrong – especially with injuries – that you cannot refuse the offer when it comes.

So now he has justified the decision to leave Everton and put in his transfer request, the choice, if there is one, is to be between Manchester and Newcastle. And with the greatest respect to Newcastle, who are a great club, there is again simply no contest. Manchester United are a global power, a club who will never lose their position among the top four teams in English football. They generate more revenue from their reputation than Chelsea, Arsenal or Newcastle could ever earn.

But before we examine the prospect of Rooney at United, let's just marvel at the notion of paying £25 million for a teenager. In the battle to sign him, that fact seems to have been overlooked. It's an amazing sum of money to pay for a player who has been around for little more than 18 months and it shows the faith Sir Alex Ferguson must have in this boy.

United have been flushed out by the bid from Newcastle. It has been a brilliant bit of tactical manoeuvring. No one really saw that one coming – especially not United, who wanted to buy him at Christmas at the earliest, when the price would have cooled down a bit from the hike it was given after Rooney's Euro 2004 performances.