Rooney hints at Man U future, Liverpool lead chase for starlet
Striker won't say he is happy, but he could stay at Old Trafford; clubs scramble for teen Derby star
WHAT do Wayne Rooney and George Washington have in common? An aversion to telling lies, it appears.
Since notching his 200th goal for Manchester United on Tuesday night, Rooney, who was heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, has steadfastly refused to declare himself happy at the club, despite being given any number of opportunities to do so.
However, the Daily Mail reports that he could be inching towards a reconcilement with United and may soon be ready to pledge his future to the Premier League champions, even though he remains unwilling to state that he is truly happy there.
Speaking to his own official website, the 27-year-old praised the Old Trafford support, who have welcomed him with open arms despite rumours he was agitating for a transfer over the season. He said: "The best way to repay the fans is with good team performances. I'm happy to be in a position where I get the opportunity to score goals – and long may that continue."
It might not be a declaration of love, but according to the Mail "for the first time, Rooney has... suggested that his long-term future may lie at Old Trafford".
Getting Rooney to settle down would be an achievement for United but, after a dismal summer in the transfer market for new manager David Moyes, something that prompted the club to write to fans to reassure them that there was nothing to worry about, there could be more trouble ahead in January.
Sky Sports deals a blow to United by revealing that Juventus think their midfielder Arturo Vidal is worth as much as Gareth Bale - 100m euros. The 26-year-old Chilean was reportedly a target of both Manchester United and Real Madrid in the summer, according to Talksport at least, but now Juventus say selling him is "out of the question", which is why they have made him essentially unaffordable.
Another player allegedly in United's sights over the summer was Udinese striker Luis Muriel. The Colombian was seen as a possible replacement for Rooney, but he has now signed a deal that will keep him at the Italian club until 2018, reports Sky Sports.
Elsewhere, a ding-dong battle is brewing over Derby starlet Will Hughes, according to the Mirror. The 18-year-old midfield prodigy has already been linked with Arsenal and Manchester City, but now it seems that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has muscled his way to the front of the queue.
He sent thge Reds' chief scout Dave Fallows to watch the England Under-21 in action this week, and the Mirror believes he regards the teenager as the long-term successor to Steven Gerrard in the heart of the Anfield midfield. Also in attendance at the match were scouts from Everton says the paper, and it now looks as though there will be a mad scramble to sign him in the new year.
Meanwhile, Manchester City could be about to land two big-name stars who eluded both United and Arsenal in the summer, if the Daily Star is to be believed, that is.
The paper reports that Real Madrid are desperate to get their hands on striker Sergio Aguero, and would be prepared to offer both Sami Khedira and Karim Benzema in return for the Argentine.
Arsenal reportedly tried to land Benzema in the summer, but ended up with Mesut Ozil instead. After the Gunners landed Ozil, his German international team-mate, Khedira, expressed surprise that Madrid had sold him and hinted that he too would be willing to head to England.
That prompted speculation that Khedira could join the Gunners in January, and he was also linked with a move to Manchester United during the transfer window. Now it seems that City could hold the upper hand in negotiations over his future.
Finally, Barcelona's search for the new Lionel Messi has taken them to Sweden, where they have unearthed a nine-year-old prodigy who goes by the wonderful name of Zico Jr Marecaldi.
The Daily Mail reports that the youngster and his family are now preparing to up sticks and move to Spain, where young Zico will hope to become only the third Swede to play for Barca, following in the footsteps of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Larsson. ·