Wayne Rooney’s options in leaving Manchester United are very limited

Much has been made of the transition at Premier League champions Manchester United. The Old Trafford club will have to come to terms with the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson will no longer be the man in charge, with new boss David Moyes to assume the position next season. However, a key player could also be on his way out in the form of Wayne Rooney. The England international is said to have handed in a transfer request – however realistic options on where the forward could move to are few and far between.

United have stated that Rooney is not for sale, but if the attacker insists on leaving the Premier League champions could well be forced to part with the forward. Those who bet on the Premier League will know that the Old Trafford outfit will be reluctant to sell Rooney to one of their domestic rivals, despite links with Chelsea and Arsenal of late. The favourable odds are on Rooney moving abroad should he leave Manchester United.

The attacker’s salary and the potential transfer fee will also be an issue. Rooney is rumoured to currently earn more than £200,000 per week at Old Trafford, and the number of clubs that could, or would be willing to, come close to offering this are minimal. Add to this a transfer fee likely to be well in excess of £20 million, and Rooney’s purchase is a very expensive one.

Wayne Rooney

Barcelona have been linked with Rooney, but a move to the Camp Nou seems unlikely given the Catalan club’s policy to build from within. Real Madrid are unlikely to be interested, while a move to an Italian club like Juventus would force Rooney to drop his salary considerably. Bayern Munich have the financial means to buy him, but have publicly stated that they are not interested.

Realistically this only really leave Paris Saint-Germain, with betting tips pointing in this direction. A move to the French capital would make sense, as Carlo ancelotti’s men are on the rise, have the financial clout to buy him and have former team-mate David Beckham in their ranks. However, despite PSG having ambitions to become a major force in Europe, Rooney would have to settle for second-rate domestic football in Ligue 1.

Although Rooney may well be unsettled currently, with Moyes coming to the club there is no guarantee that he won’t see the changes at United as an opportunity to reinvigorate his career at Old Trafford. Given the obstacles such as his wages and transfer fee, the lack of big-name suitors and United’s reluctancy to sell to another Premier League club, and Rooney does not have a lot of options.

No Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or City: Champions League quarter-final preview

For the first time since 1996 there is no English representation in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Despite this, the draw has still thrown up some potentially exciting ties that are bound to produce plenty of goals and talking points.

Malaga v Borussia Dortmund

Probably the least glamorous looking of the ties but has the potential to be one of the most entertaining. Both teams have been extremely impressive in getting this far. Malaga topped their group, remaining unbeaten, and finishing ahead of AC Milan and Zenit, before overturning a first-leg deficit against Porto in the last 16. Dortmund meanwhile were put in the so-called Group of Death alongside Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax. They too remained unbeaten though, and also finished first in their group before sweeping aside Shakhtar in the last 16.

Mario Gotze

While most people will look at Isco as Malaga’s main threat, the experience they possess with the likes of Joaquin, Toulalan, Saviola and Demichelis is not to be under-estimated though, and they will be prepared for the occasion. Dortmund’s youth and attacking style may just prove to be too much for the Spaniards however, and with the guaranteed goals and creativity of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski along with home advantage in the second leg, the Germans may well be a good outside bet to make it all the way to Wembley.

Real Madrid v Galatasaray

The second favourites meet the rank outsiders in this quarter-final tie. Madrid cruised through their group, even though they finished second to Dortmund, and then controversially saw off Manchester United over two tense games. Galatasaray just edged through their group ahead of CFR Cluj and their attacking prowess saw them score three in Germany to get past Schalke.

Didier Drogba

There is no doubting the Turkish side’s attacking options. Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder were the big name signings in January but they also boast the joint top scorer in the competition with Burak Yilmaz. Add to this the experience of Felipe Melo and Hamit Altintop in the midfield and they certainly have a strong core to their team. Over two games though it is hard to see a defence which has already conceded in all but one game in the competition so far this season containing the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and company. Galatasaray do have the advantage of being at home for the second leg but they cannot afford to be more than a goal or two behind after their trip to the Bernabeu.

Paris Saint-Germain v Barcelona

Undoubtedly the tie of the round, the big-spending French team against the side who have raised most of their players through their youth team. Despite a couple of wobbles along the way against Celtic and in the first leg against AC Milan, the Catalan giants still remain the team to beat. As they showed in the second leg against Milan they are still unstoppable when they are on form. PSG were very impressive in topping their group and despite a nervy second leg against Valencia they deservedly fought their way through.

Jordi Alba

The biggest problem for the French side in the first game will be the continued suspension of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. To have any chance against Barcelona they will need their strongest team and it will be a big blow to not have their talisman. Not that PSG are a one-man team though. Ezequiel Lavezzi continues to show his talent with five goals in this tournament and they have the exciting young talents of Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore. The problem they may find though is getting the ball to these players, but if they can there is no doubt they can cause Barcelona problems. It would be no surprise if Paris Saint-Germain got a positive result at home but as Milan found out in the last 16, it needs a big lead to take to the Nou Camp for the return game.

Bayern Munich v Juventus

The final tie pits together two of the heavyweights of European football over the years. Bayern have been very impressive to this stage and despite their second-leg defeat to Arsenal they still dominated in terms of attempts at goal and possession. Juventus came through a slow start to qualify first from a group containing Shakhtar and defending champions Chelsea, before brushing aside the challenge of Celtic.

Andrea Pirlo

Bayern will be determined to make amends for their final defeat to Chelsea last year and they certainly have a team who find it easy to create chances and, certainly at domestic level, score goals. They are coming up against a side though that is more of a stereotypical Italian team. Solid at the back and good in possession, Juve play the game at their own pace. They may be short of big names but they have an Italian core that are well drilled and know exactly what they are doing. This is probably the hardest of the quarter-finals to call, but it may well be that Bayern’s extra options in the attacking third will be enough to see them through; but only just.

By Chris Newman

Paris Saint Germain: Are they a threat to Manchester United, Barcelona and the big boys in the Champions League?

Paris Saint Germain have given themselves a golden opportunity to reach the Champions League quarter-finals with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Valencia in Spain. The Ligue 1 side were good value for their win against Los Che, and will now eye another strong performance at the Parc des Princes to consolidate their progression.

Admittedly, Valencia are not the same beast that made the Mestalla a cauldron in the 2000’s. However they did recently hold Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at home, and as such PSG’s achievement of an away victory must be applauded.

Ezequiel Lavezzi scored against Valencia for PSG

With the backing of the Qatari Investment Authority, Carlo Ancelotti as head coach and a host of top-notch players at the club already, the sky is the limit for the French capital-city side. No doubt further investment and more new faces will arrive in the summer, but what can PSG achieve this season?

Domestically PSG are sitting six points clear at the top of Ligue 1, and the realistic aim for the club’s owners, and their priority, must be to win the title. Given the fact that they have not been crowned French champions since 1994, this is well overdue.

In the Champions League a solid home performance against Valencia should get them through to the last eight, and from there the competition becomes unpredictable. The likes of Barcelona, Juventus, Mancehster United or Real Madrid would certainly be favourites over two legs against the French side, but none of this side would necessary relish being drawn against PSG.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s foolish dismissal late in the game put a dampener on PSG’s performance, as did the conceding of a late goal, but come quarter-final time the French side may well pose a tricky customer for some of the traditionally bigger teams given the quality in their ranks.

Manchester United miss out again as Lucas Moura joins PSG revolution

The decision by teenage Brazilian star Lucas Moura to join Paris Saint-Germain instead of Manchester United represents another significant coup for the oil-rich French side while simultaneously putting a dent in Sir Alex Ferguson’s summer transfer endeavours.

The move will no doubt drag up memories for many United fans and possibly even Fergie of a failed pursuit of one Ronaldinho Gaucho back in 2001. PSG won the race to sign that particular Brazilian too and Ferguson was again beaten to the punch as the player joined Barcelona two years later. Ronaldinho was then crowned FIFA world player of the year in both 2004 and 2005. Whether Lucas Moura’s quality is enough to scale these dizzying heights remains to be seen.

Some would point to the 19-year-old’s price tag, reported to be in excess of £35 million, as being vastly over-inflated for a youngster who has yet to be really tested outside of South America. It seems though, that United may have been willing to part with a similar figure for the player’s services before the Parisian outfit intervened.

Moura’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro, claims that Sao Paulo and United had reached an agreement over the teenager and that they were ready to finalise the move before former Brazil hero turned PSG director Leonardo convinced the player to join the newly bulging squad at the Parc des Princes.

There has been no comment from Old Trafford confirming that they were close to landing the player but Sir Alex had taken the unusual step of admitting interest in the Sao Paulo man and the papers had speculated over the player’s transfer to United for weeks. His decision therefore represents a blow for United who seem intent on adding another creative midfielder to their squad.

Shinji Kagawa has arrived from Borussia Dortmund and Nick Powell has joined from Crewe but many United fans are demanding further investment in the middle of the park and it would seem that the manager agrees given his failed pursuit of Moura. Unfortunately for Ferguson this is the second time United have lost a transfer race this summer with Eden Hazard electing to join Chelsea.

With the old Trafford supremo a keen advocate of getting value for money rather than bolstering his squad unnecessarily, those sections of the United support clamouring for a significant midfield arrival should not hold their breath. The Manchester outfit however, continue to be linked with a range of players and some sections of the press have pointed to a move for Ajax’s Christian Eriksen or Isco from financially troubled Malaga. Should the long serving boss identify either man as a viable option then supporters will be hoping that he can seal a deal at the third time of asking.  United also look keen on strengthening in other areas with the Robin Van Persie saga trundling the media also reporting a lingering interest in Everton’s Leighton Baines.

PSG meanwhile continue to up the ante in the European transfer market as they look to claim Ligue 1 for the first time since 1994 and challenge Europe’s big guns in the Champions League. Argentine Javier Pastore was the first real statement of intent arriving last summer but this transfer window has seen the French side really move things up a gear with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and now Lucas Moura, who will remain in Brazil until January, all added to what must surely now be an impressive payroll.

Can Alan Pardew hold onto his Newcastle superstars this summer?

2011-12 has been a memorable season for Newcastle, who have exceeded all expectations to be in the running for a Champions League qualification place with a handful of games to go. Despite a 4-0 defeat to Wigan on Saturday, the Tyneside club are still in the mix for a top four finish, although they have a number of difficult games still to play. However, as with any overachiever, bigger clubs have taken notice, and Alan Pardew may well find it difficult to hold onto his key men this summer. Here are five that will attract plenty of suitors.

Demba Ba

Arguably the signing of the season, Ba moved to Newcastle on a free transfer last summer, and especially in the first half of the season, has been a star at the Sports Direct Arena. With 16 goals this season to date and a reported £7 million release clause in his contract, Ba will be one of the hottest prospects in this summer’s transfer window.

Suitors: Tottenham, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain

Tim Krul

An excellent shotstopper who has grown in stature over the last 12 months, Tim Krul has been a key reason for Newcastle’s rise to the top four this term. The 24-year-old has made the number 1 jersey his own over the last couple of seasons, with excellent performances pushing him into the Netherlands international set-up. Despite recently signing a new contract, Krul may well get some attention from north London when the window reopens.

Suitors: Arsenal, Tottenham

Yohan Cabaye

The assured midfielder has been the heartbeat of the Newcastle team this season, with composure in possession, an eye for a pass and unrelenting work-rate making him a Toon favourite. Cabaye reportedly cost Newcastle a mere £5 million, and the star midfielder is likely to be part of the France squad that travels to Euro 2012.

Suitors: Manchester United

Cheik Tiote

Despite missing six weeks of the season on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, Cheik Tiote has been integral to Newcastle’s strong defensive record this term. A battler and enforcer in every sense of the word, the African holding midfielder has protected a changing back four this season, with Tiote’s energy and combativeness catching the eye.

Suitors: Chelsea

Fabricio Coloccini

Similar to Krul, skipper Coloccini has recently penned a new deal at the club, but may well be a target this summer. A shaky start to his time in England has been discarded, as the Argentina international has shown more confidence and better organisational skills under Pardew’s tutelage this season. An unsung hero, especially given Steven Taylor’s long-term absence from the side.

Suitors: Liverpool

Published – Bleacher Report

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