Barca Opportunity Provides Fresh Start For Waning Rooney

If Barcelona really are interested in securing the services of Wayne Rooney, the disenchanted Manchester United forward should bite their arm off.

Never before has a man needed a move so badly, and never before have I needed to know whether a footballer will be the first in La Liga to insist on playing with a knotted hankie on his head to protect him from the sun. This is a move that works for everyone.

It would be an extraordinary transfer, not least because it would suggest that no one at Barcelona had time to watch Manchester United play in the latter stages of last season. If they had, they’d have seen a portly, sweaty Englishman trundling around the pitch like van full of sausages.

They’d have seen a man with a first touch so wretched that he may as well have been playing in wellies. They might have wondered how the English had ever convinced themselves that this feckless lump, apparently hewn from a large block of cheese, was the future of their national game. And then they’d have made another enquiry about that tall, dark and handsome Cavani chap.

But if Barcelona really are interested, it’s because they believe in the Rooney that we know still exists in there somewhere. Not the one who sulks and pouts and has made two transfer requests from one of the biggest clubs in the world, but the one who just wants to play football. The one who looks hungry like a wolf, rather than hungry like a man waiting for McDonalds to open.

They want the Wayne Rooney who scored 26 Premier League goals in 2009/10 and 27 in 2011/12. Not the one who only managed 23 in 2010/11 and 2012/13 combined. No footballer has ever veered from excellent to execrable with such ease.

But, by thunder, when Rooney catches light, he’s something to see. With that aggression correctly channelled and with instructions that maximise his assets, stopping him is like stopping a hurricane. You can build whatever barricades you like, they’ll end smashed to smithereens in a field three miles away.

That Rooney would prevail in Spain, of that there is no question. He’d relish the added time on the ball and, if he can adjust to it, the stop-start pace of the game would allow him to hold his energy in reserve and expend it where it counted.

It remains to be seen if the Rooney family would appreciate a move to Spain at this time. While there are very few problems that can’t be solved with the application of large piles of cash, there is a toddler and a new baby to consider. While a culture built around meat, cheese and afternoon naps should present no serious obstacle for Wayne, the language barrier and distance from the support network at home might be too much for Coleen and the children.

But there are benefits to this move to consider carefully. Rooney needs a fresh start. He needs new challenges. He needs a new way of thinking, or indeed, a way of thinking. La Liga would give him the chance to reignite his career and spare him a season with fans who distrust him and a manager who once sued him. If the interest is genuine, he should follow it up. Who knows, they might even allow him to wear the hankie.

Rooney is 30.00 to join Barcelona with Unibet

Read Iain Macintosh's columns here