This Wayne Rooney "will he, won’t he leave United saga" has been running for two years, and while he's certainly playing well now but it's had a big impact on his form over that period.
When you sign a big contract you have to justify it, and whether he has done that is open to question.
These new Rooney quotes about wanting to leave because he was played out of position are curious, to say the least. They contradict what he has said himself before.
Great win today. Really enjoying my new midfield role. Always involved in the game.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) October 7, 2012
It is strange that anyone would want to leave Manchester United when the team is winning and the player playing. Let’s be clear, it is a job that he can do, and one he has enjoyed.
Whether there are agents at work remains to be seen. They don’t necessarily have a player’s best interests at heart sometimes. What is for certain though is that as soon as you sign a new contract, your agent is either working towards the next one or thinking about a move away.
I know that the Rooney camp are unhappy that United haven’t wanted to sit down sooner and discuss a new deal, and the striker's agent Paul Stretford will have had a role in advising Rooney on what to say and when.
Rooney still has four or five years left in the upper echelons of football but remains non-committal on signing a contract, having yesterday said, "I’ll have more discussions with the club and we’ll see what happens from there.”
If does leave, though, what options does he have?
As they showed this summer, United won’t sell to a domestic rival - but they'll be equally unwilling to let him go for a free transfer if he attempts to run his contract down.
This leaves the likeliest exit strategy as a move abroad. If a monster offer came in I think he would go. Who would be in for him, though? Most likely the wealthy clubs in France - Monaco and PSG - as there wasn’t much interest from the established superpowers over the summer when it was patently clear that he wanted to leave.
Still, it isn’t unthinkable that he could end up staying at United, of course. It would be an uncomfortable truce but if he can get his future settled once and for all then he could push on and finish his career with no regrets.
It would be a shame if he ended up sulking his way through the last few years of his career and not fulfilling that wonderful potential.
Obviously, the Rooney-United issue is a far more complex situation than we have been led to believe. Sir Alex Ferguson’s book, which is set to be published at the end of this month, could prove central to Rooney's future.
There will be no doubt revelations in there - with many protagonists but we can be sure that Rooney will be a focal point, and how he reacts to these revelations will probably determine where he finishes his career.
The coming month will be an interesting one for both the player and the club - and a lot of that will be down to the ex-manager.