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22 Oct 2010

Wayne Rooney's future at Manchester United remains unclear following a meeting between the club and his representatives on Thursday.

After talks involving manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill, United released a statement saying there were "no developments".

"The outcome of those meetings will become clear in the near future," the statement went on to say.

Rooney says he wants to leave because the club do not match his ambition.

Ferguson, who revealed in a news conference on Tuesday that Rooney was not intending to extend his contract beyond the summer of 2012, said after the Champions League victory over Bursaspor on Wednesday: "We don't want it to become a saga. What is really important is for us to put it to bed."

But the United statement added: "We are aware that there is intense public and media interest on the club at the moment, but there are no developments of note to report. In the meantime, fans are asked to be patient."

Rooney, 24, himself released a statement on Wednesday, confirming his wish to leave, claiming he had concerns over the squad's strength and saying Gill had not given him "any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad".

Supporters have long had concerns over the amount of debt placed on the club by US-based owners the Glazer family following their leveraged buyout in 2005.

Two weeks ago, United reported an annual pre-tax loss of £79.6m for the 12 months to 30 June - they recorded a profit of £48m for the year before.

After the 1-0 victory over Bursaspor, Ferguson insisted: "Sunday's game against Stoke is the most important thing. This is a bagatelle, believe me."

When journalists continued to press him on Rooney, an irritated Ferguson responded: "I am not going on with this all night. Stop it now. It is a European game.

"You have had plenty on Tuesday. There has been plenty tonight. I am concentrating on the game. Failing that, forget it."

Rooney's comments have rocked Manchester United, with Ferguson himself admitting he was "shocked", "disappointed" and "bemused" by the striker's decision to quit the club he joined from Everton in 2004 in a £25.6m deal.

However, the Scot believes United, as a club, remain in good shape.

"We will be OK. I have every confidence," he said. "The structure of the club is good. We have the right staff, the right manager, a brilliant chief executive. There is not a thing wrong with Manchester United.

"To maintain the success at any club is not a certainty.

"I always believe a four-year cycle is the most you can achieve. Very few teams can go beyond that.

"We realised some time ago that Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville were not going to last forever. Therefore our policy is to develop footballers in their place."

He went on to tell a story from 2004 when Rooney joined the club while previous stars such as Roy Keane and Ruud van Nistelrooy were departing.

"A player said to me Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were not good enough and he wasn't prepared to wait," recounted Ferguson.

"That is the problem with potential. People don't identify potential. We are very good at it. I have identified it all my life. I know potential. I know where it can be developed and how to develop it. I have faith in it.

"That is what this club is about. When you see Manchester United at the moment, with 14 players under 22, you don't see the Manchester United for years ahead."

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, now manager at Ipswich, said the Old Trafford club would cope without Rooney.

"Players have opinions and if they want to leave then good luck to them," he said. "Man Utd will more than survive."

Asked if Ferguson's side can still attract top quality players, the Irishman added: "Absolutely, of course, absolutely.

"If any player ever asked me, and one or two have, if they had a chance of signing for Man United, 'do it, you won't regret it'."

Rooney is currently sidelined because of an ankle injury picked up in training ahead of the game against Bursaspor.

However, Ferguson dismissed suggestions he might suspend his striker when he returns to fitness.

There is already speculation about possible destinations for Rooney but Ferguson expressed doubts as to whether he could find a better employer.

"Sometimes you look in a field and see a cow," he said. "You think it is a better cow than the one you see in your field. It never really works out that way.

"Some players like to think the world is better somewhere else. It never really works."

Manchester City and Chelsea have been linked with a move for Rooney.

But City boss Roberto Mancini played down talk of a move for United's prize asset.

"It was different for Carlos Tevez [who moved between the clubs last summer]," said the Italian. "Rooney is English and has played for United for a long time, Carlos was there for two years. That makes a difference."

Rooney's team-mates offered differing opinions on the furore over his future after Tuesday's Champions League match, with midfielder Michael Carrick saying: "You have to distance yourself from it.

"We can only control what happens out on the pitch. That is all we can be focused on."

Fellow midfielder Darren Fletcher said: "You have to accept big players and big stars move on at every club.

"We should all remember what a big club Manchester United is. The biggest in the world. High-profile players have left in the past but the club itself just keeps going.

"If anything, it should galvanise the squad because we all need to come together. The fans need to trust us and get behind the team."


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