Last updated : 27 August 2004 By editor


‘Manchester United are ready to test Everton's resolve over Wayne Rooney by stalling over an improved bid for the England striker, confident that the teenager would rather join them than move to Newcastle or remain at Goodison Park.

‘United feel that £20m is a suitable price to reflect the 18-year-old's talents, basing that valuation on the £12.24m they spent on the Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo last summer. They may be willing to offer a player on top of that amount, most likely the French forward David Bellion, though they are aware that Rooney is agitating for a transfer to Old Trafford and his value will continue to drop should he remain at Everton without signing his proposed new five-year contract.

‘The fact that Moyes is enduring an increasingly fractious relationship with the young striker - the pair exchanged heated words in front of other players during training on Tuesday - will have some bearing on the situation. Kenwright insisted yesterday that Everton "do not need to sell Wayne Rooney", referring to the financial benefits of sanctioning his sale, though he seemed resigned to seeing the striker leave at some point.’

The Sun:

’Manchester United are preparing a new bid worth £25million plus David Bellion to land Wayne Rooney. United’s initial £20m bid for the England superstar was rejected outright by Everton yesterday. Now the Reds will throw in fringe player Bellion as an incentive.

’Goodison boss David Moyes was at Old Trafford on Wednesday to see the Frenchman make an impressive appearance as a sub against Dinamo Bucharest. He came on to score his second goal in successive games. But Moyes might push for Irish international John O’Shea instead.

’O’Shea will be battling for a first-team place when Argentine Gabriel Heinze returns from international duty. Now United boss Alex Ferguson could be prepared to let him go.’

The Guardian advise Rooney, there’s only one United:

‘Newcastle must know they have been beaten. The Tyneside club claimed to have tabled a £23.5m bid for Wayne Rooney last night in a swift riposte to Manchester United entering the race to sign the England striker, but logic suggests this is a duel they cannot win.

‘The lure of Old Trafford is simply too strong for most players and, on the occasions when bidding wars have broken out, Sir Alex Ferguson invariably gets his man. Should they edge nearer to Everton's valuation of the 18-year-old ahead of the closure of the transfer window next Tuesday, Rooney will surely be wearing a red shirt by the time he has recovered from the metatarsal fracture sustained at Euro 2004.

‘With the exception of when Chelsea are involved and isolated cases such as Ronaldinho's decision to join Barcelona, United would expect to beat all-comers in attracting players. Their bid to Independiente for Diego Forlan three years ago fell short of Middlesbrough's offer, but the Uruguayan ended up at Old Trafford nevertheless. Indeed, their track record extends back even further. Roy Keane's refusal to join Blackburn Rovers for £4m in 1993 forced Nottingham Forest to accept a £3.75m bid from United or face the prospect of being left with, as Keane wrote in his autobiography, "an asset worth nothing, training with the reserve team". When Keane eventually moved to Manchester he accepted a salary £50,000 a year - less than that offered by Rovers. "A thousand pounds a week was a small price to pay to be a Manchester United player," wrote Keane.

As Keane added in his book: "In my heart of hearts I knew I could never refuse to sign for the world's most famous football club." Rooney is unlikely to think any different.’

The Independent reckon that the Geordie’s may have a chance of signing him:

‘Newcastle emerged as serious candidates to win the battle for Wayne Rooney last night after Everton rejected Manchester United's offer of £20m for the striker's services.

‘Although Rooney, who is now anxious to quit Merseyside as quickly as possible following revelations about his private life and bust-ups with his manager, David Moyes, is still favourite to end up at Old Trafford, Newcastle are becoming an increasingly attractive destination for the player and his advisers.

‘The motives behind Newcastle's bid have until now been murky. Their first offer was greeted with derision on Tyneside, mainly because they already had four specialist centre-forwards and were in dire need of a centre-half following the sale of Jonathan Woodgate to Real Madrid.

‘Although Manchester United are outwardly confident of securing Rooney by increasing their offer to the £25m that could be acceptable to Everton, the contest may not have a foregone conclusion.

‘Both Everton and Rooney are increasingly anxious to conclude a deal before Tuesday's transfer deadline. The relationship between the 18-year-old striker and Moyes appears close to complete breakdown.

‘On Monday, Rooney informed his manager he wished to leave Goodison Park, which was followed on Wednesday by a furious row in which the striker accused Moyes of indicating to the Merseyside media that he wanted to go for "personal reasons".

'The Sun newspaper, which earned Rooney ferocious criticism when he signed an exclusive contract with the paper worth £250,000, has now turned on their former client, making lurid allegations about his relationship with prostitutes.’

The Times warns that United are risking losing Rooney as we try to get the best price possible:

Manchester United are ready to play a dangerous waiting game in the Wayne Rooney transfer saga, threatening to retreat from the negotiating table in the belief that they are the only club he truly wants to join. United had an opening £20 million bid rejected by Everton yesterday, with Newcastle United having already failed with an improved second offer, but Sir Alex Ferguson and his board are prepared to wait in the belief that Everton will be forced to sell for less than their £25 million valuation.

‘Despite having been rushed into action by Newcastle’s first offer on Monday and by subsequent indications that Rooney may consider moving to the North East, United remain confident that they are in a strong bargaining position. They may raise their bid to about £23.5 million, the same figure that Newcastle have already turned down, but they feel they will not need to go any higher if, as they firmly believe, the England forward’s preference is a move to Old Trafford.

‘United expect to reach an agreement with Everton and Rooney before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, but, unless it seems that he is about to join Newcastle, they may be content to wait until the January transfer window, by which time his valuation may have dropped farther. Everton are aware of this possibility, with the player unwilling to sign a new contract, and would prefer to sell Rooney now if, as it seems, he and his advisers are intent on securing a move away from Merseyside.’


‘Manchester United are confident that they can win the race to sign Wayne Rooney by matching rather than beating any offer that Newcastle make for the 18-year-old – despite the rejection yesterday to their first £20 million bid for the England striker.

‘United chief executive David Gill looks set to make an offer of around £23.5 million today to equal Newcastle's second bid and it will remain on the table even if Everton reject it initially. There was some tension between the two clubs yesterday afternoon when the United board discovered that their first bid had been turned down when the news was released on Everton's website.

‘There is also a suggestion that if United have to force the issue so close to the transfer deadline they might be prepared to weight the deal with a player. The favourite would be David Bellion, for whom United paid £2 million in compensation to Sunderland last summer, but has failed to make an impression on the first team.

‘It emerged yesterday that Rooney's meeting with David Moyes on Tuesday, at which he told the Everton manager he no longer wanted to play for his boyhood club, ended in an argument between them in front of other players. Rooney is understood to have told the Scot that he felt Everton were slowing the transfer process and there has been a difficult atmosphere between the two since.


‘Manchester United will today meet Everton's asking price for Wayne Rooney by increasing their bid to £25million to clinch the signing of England's teenage superstar.

‘The Old Trafford board decided to increase their offer after Everton rejected their initial £20m bid for Rooney and also turned down Newcastle's improved offer of £23.5m.

‘Everton insisted they would not accept anything less than £25m for their prized asset and chairman Bill Kenwright will let Rooney leave by accepting United's new offer.’