Money. When a professional footballer wants to change clubs he normally claims that this is to “fulfil a dream”, “take the next step”, “get a new challenge” etc. In reality, money is always part of the motivation. More often than not it’s the main reason why a player wants a move. I don’t think Rooney is any different in this respect. As he’s one of the best players in the world, it’s not difficult to imagine that he gets frustrated when across town Yaya Touré earns twice as much.
Form. In the previous paragraph I refered to Rooney as one of the best players in the world. But in fact he hasn’t played anywhere near that level for the last six months, neither for United nor England. On form he deserves to be on the bench as both Berbatov and Hernandez have looked better players recently. As what was supposedly a temporary glitch has turned into the longest slump of his career, many of us have become increasingly worried. None more so than Rooney himself. Since the World Cup it’s likely that he’s given some serious thought to which way his professional career is heading. One conclusion might have been that a change of clubs could help him find his feet again.
The Glazers. The owners of the top clubs in Europe tend to put an awful lot of money into the club, or at least not take anything out. The Glazers on the other hand take countless millions out of the club. This has now made it obvious that United find it very hard to compete for the best players. It’s no wonder that Rooney does not believe that United is a club in ascendency. Does anyone?
His private life. Very difficult to know how important this aspect is. It has probably helped destabilize Rooney, but I still think it’s only a minor factor behind his transfer request.
Paul Stretford. Rooney’s agent orchestrated a very similar move in 2004. Read this highly interesting article by David Conn. I think Stretford is at it again.