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Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

Rooney firm in desire to leave Man United

LONDON (AP) Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill will meet Thursday to discuss what to do next after Wayne Rooney blamed his decision not to sign a new contract on the club's failure to spend heavily on top-class players.

News photo
Ready to go: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) reacts at a training session on Tuesday. Rooney wants to leave the club due to a lack of high-profile signings. AP PHOTO

Having already told United that he wants to end his six-year association with the 18-time English champions, Rooney issued a public denunciation of the club's transfer activity — or lack of it — hours before Wednesday's 1-0 Champions League win over Bursaspor.

Ferguson said that he had yet to read the England striker's statement in full but that he would talk it over with Gill. The most decorated manager in English soccer history said he still hoped to persuade the 24-year-old Rooney to stay at Old Trafford.

"We'll probably put it to bed tomorrow," Ferguson said. "The door is open. We're that kind of club that we want to keep good players, particularly when they're as good as that."

Rooney has 20 months remaining on his contract and Ferguson made public his player's decision to turn down a new deal on Tuesday, while stressing his desire to hang on to a player who scored 34 goals last season.

But Rooney's statement only clarified his dissatisfaction with United's failure to bolster its squad.

"I met with David Gill last week and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney said. "I then told him that I would not be signing a new contract. I was interested to hear what Sir Alex had to say yesterday and surprised by some of it.

"It is absolutely true, as he said, that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract. During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world."

United finished second in the Premier League and only won the League Cup last season after losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and striker Carlos Tevez to newly rich Manchester City — without signing similarly high-profile replacements.

United's ability to compete for the world's top players is hampered by interest payments on debt of more than £750 million resulting from the 2005 leveraged takeover by the Glazer family.

Rooney has won three Premier League titles and the Champions League once since joining United in 2004 from boyhood club Everton for £25.6 million (then $40 million).

Rooney has also seen neighbor Manchester City dramatically outspend United in the last two years since being bought by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.



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