Fergie seeking end to Rooney saga


MANCHESTER, October 21 – Sir Alex Ferguson vowed to draw a line under the saga of Wayne Rooney's departure from Manchester United here Wednesday after the player accused the club of lacking ambition.Another extraordinary day of off-the-field drama at United ended with Ferguson revealing he would meet with club officials on Thursday in an effort to halt the war of words that has erupted over Rooney’s decision to quit.

"We don’t want it to carry on. We don’t want it to become a saga. We’ve got the team to consider," Ferguson said after United defeated Turkish side Bursaspor 1-0 in a Champions League tie at Old Trafford.

"That’s going to be the end of it tomorrow. We’ll carry on and dismiss everything else. We’ll put it to bed tomorrow."

Ferguson said he will meet United chief executive David Gill at 10:00 am Thursday (0900 GMT) to discuss Rooney. Gill had spoken to United’s American owners, the Glazer family, earlier Wednesday he added.

"David (Gill) has spoken to the owners tonight, which is important," Ferguson said. "And what is really important is for us to put this to bed. We don’t want this to become a saga. This is a bagatelle, believe me."

Ferguson did not speculate on what course of action he may take but it now seems likely that Rooney has played his last game in a United shirt and that the club will seek to arrange his departure as soon as possible.

Ferguson was speaking just a few hours after Rooney issued a statement confirming he wanted to leave, saying the club had failed to give him assurances that it could continue to attract top players.

Rooney’s statement came after Ferguson had on Tuesday revealed that the 24-year-old striker had informed him he wanted to leave. Ferguson insisted on Tuesday he had no idea why Rooney sought a move.

However Rooney said Wednesday his decision was taken after the club was unable to convince him it was prepared to invest in elite talent.

"It is absolutely true that my agent and I have had a number of meetings with the club about a new contract," Rooney said.

"During those meetings in August I asked for assurances about the continued ability of the club to attract the top players in the world.

"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 also hit out at suggestion made by Ferguson on Tuesday that he had failed to show the club "respect" since making his decision to quit.

"I have never had anything but complete respect for MUFC. How could I not have done given its fantastic history and especially the last six years in which I have been lucky to play a part?

"For me it’s all about winning trophies – as the club has always done under Sir Alex. Because of that I think the questions I was asking were justified.

"Despite recent difficulties, I know I will always owe Sir Alex Ferguson a huge debt. He is a great manager and mentor who has helped and supported me from the day he signed me from Everton when I was only 18.

Rooney’s statement will do little to quell suspicions aired across the British media that his desire to leave Old Trafford is motivated by the possibility of a mammoth transfer, possibly to Manchester City.

Rooney is reportedly seeking to double his existing wages of 90,000 pounds a week, with City among the few clubs who have the financial muscle to meet his staggering salary demands and the expected 50 million pounds price tag.

City boss Roberto Mancini on Wednesday denied the club had made contact with Rooney, saying he believed the striker would stay at United.

"No. Never," said Mancini when asked if contact has been made with Rooney.