Premier League - Wenger says Arsenal can afford Rooney

Arsene Wenger hopes to persuade Wayne Rooney to join Arsenal instead of Chelsea, saying that the Gunners can afford the England star.

PA Sport
Premier League - Wenger says Arsenal can afford Rooney
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Wayne Rooney has scored 197 goals for Manchester United

The Frenchman, who saw his star striker Robin van Persie head to Manchester United last year, is in the market for a striker.

Rooney is unsettled at Old Trafford after new United boss David Moyes said he would play as a back-up to Van Persie. Chelsea put a bid in for him on Wednesday, which was rejected.

“It happened to us last year and it can happen to them,” Wenger said of United’s swoop for the Dutchman. "Rooney is under contract and has two years to go so it's United who make the decision.

“But we would not have a problem with the wages of Rooney."

United are ready to play hardball over Rooney amid an ever more confusing transfer situation.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has cut short his stay in Sydney in order to return to Europe on urgent transfer business – which is separate to the developing Rooney situation.

However, even as Jose Mourinho was confirming his club's interest in the 27-year-old, United officials were refusing to acknowledge Rooney's transfer is inevitable, insisting Woodward was deadly serious at the weekend when he said the club had no intention of selling their highest-profile player.

This may be just posturing given the sharp downturn in relations between player and club over the past week. But with two years remaining on his contract, Mourinho knows there is not much more he can do other than wait.

He said: "This situation is clear. Nothing is a secret any more. The official bid is just about a certain amount of money. We want the player. We made the bid and now we have nothing more to say. Now it is up to Manchester United."

If Woodward is not dealing with the fall-out from the Rooney affair, the chances are he is trying to progress the transfer of Cesc Fabregas. United remain confident of securing the services of Fabregas despite Barcelona's insistence the player wants to remain at the Camp Nou.

Senior figures within the Red Devils camp are of the opinion Fabregas wishes to join them, although it may take more than the £26 million they bid for the player earlier this week to persuade Barcelona to accept.

Even this situation is not straightforward given Fabregas has a clause in his contract which would ensure Arsenal were made aware of any developments.

Yet, speaking on his own club's tour of the Far East, Wenger made it clear he thinks there will be none.

"At the moment, Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona," Wenger said. "We have the clause in the contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that is not something we are after."

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