United intent on keeping ‘angry and confused’ Rooney
• Premier League champions maintain striker is going nowhere
• Rooney has returned to training following a hamstring injury
Manchester United will not sell Wayne Rooney, even if the unsettled striker hands in a transfer request – a prospect the club are prepared for – or Chelsea return with a higher bid than the £20m which was rejected earlier this week.
United remain intent on keeping Rooney beyond the close of the transfer window on 2 September despite the 27-year-old being "angry and confused" owing to a perception that his status at the club has fallen.
Chelsea had hoped to take advantage of the situation and will test United's resolve again in the coming days. Their manager, José Mourinho, has admitted he is their sole transfer target. However, it is understood United will not countenance an approach despite the apparent breakdown in relationship between the player and the club.
Rooney, who flew home on the opening day of United's three-week tour of Asia with a hamstring injury, is understood to be back in training at Carrington and able to use the exercise bicycle and the manager, David Moyes, hopes to play him in United's friendly against Sweden's AIK Fotboll on 6 August.
By then Rooney will have had the benefit of a month to regain full fitness. As the hamstring problem is only minor and the striker was sent home as a precaution, there is confidence at the club that his preparation for the new campaign, which starts at Swansea City on 17 August, will not be hampered.
Moyes has stated publicly for the first time that United did make a formal offer for Barcelona's Cesc Fábregas. "I don't like to talk about players at other clubs but I can confirm we made a bid for him," the manager said, of what is thought to be a £26m offer that was rejected by Barcelona.
While Barça are yet to make a statement saying they do not want to sell Fábregas, United are wary about making any move to try to prise Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur due to the difficulty of negotiating with Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman.
United are keeping all options open regarding Bale but, after the club's difficult experience in securing the transfers of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 and Michael Carrick two years previously from Tottenham, club executives believe any bid could be drawn out and end in disappointment. It is also thought that Spurs are minded that Bale should not be sold to any club whatever the offer this summer.
Robin van Persie, who joined United's tour in Sydney earlier this week has spoken of his first meeting with Moyes. "I came [over] a bit late," he said, having been give extra time off due to international commitments. "Yes, it was the first time I'd met David and the first time I spoke to him. He came across as really nice and I had a good [training] session yesterday [Wednesday].
"It is all new but sometimes it is good as well to have a new challenge and to work with new people with new ideas. It gives you a big challenge but I'm looking forward to it.
"Everyone looks forward to it. The guys are working hard and I have to follow now. Every training [session] is a big challenge, especially now everyone starts again on zero and you have to earn your place again."
Rio Ferdinand believes that United's start to their title defence is the toughest in his 11 years at the club. "It focuses us, definitely. There's no easing our way into the league this year," he said. "We've got to be ready to go from the off. We've got some big games in there but Swansea away is a really tough place to start. We've got to make sure we're ready for the start of the season because our first five games are probably the toughest that I've ever seen.
"With a new manager coming in, we're going to be focused anyway, with people looking to prove themselves and places up for grabs. There's an excitement in the squad and that will build as the start of the season gets closer."
United start with the trip to Swansea, before Chelsea visit in Moyes's first home game as manager. United then travel to Liverpool, before Crystal Palace are the visitors and on 22 September Moyes closes his opening five games in charge with the trip to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City in the derby.
Filed under: Euro 2012
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