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Thursday, 12 December 2013

Manchester United's victory over Shakhtar Donetsk could prove a small step in the right direction for more than one reason.
United have been trying to open contract negotiations with Wayne Rooney but so far all talks over a new deal have been shelved.
Rooney's camp are determined to take stock of the growing unrest around Old Trafford before making any decision on arguably the most pivotal contract of his career.
Much has been made of growing interest from other clubs, which is to be expected considering his rejuvenation under David Moyes this season, but United's strong stance on that will not change; Rooney is not for sale.
Delays: Wayne Rooney's representatives have shelved talks with Man Utd over a new contract
United do want to open talks with Rooney's camp as it makes sound business sense to protect an asset they value at around £35million. He has 18 months left on contract, is 28 years old and is regarded as England's best player heading into the World Cup.
With other such players, the price would be expected to drop as the contract runs down but United will remain resolute rather than sell to the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal who remain interested.
Both clubs do not want to waste time as other strikers, albeit some more expensive, are likely to come on the market in the summer if not before.
In turn, Rooney's camp will evaluate United's form, progression and potential to develop in the New Year and may even wait until the World Cup before committing to fresh talks.
Eyeing a move away? Rooney's camp won't begin contract talks with the growing unrest at Old Trafford
Rooney intimated back in October 2010 that he was concerned about United's rate of progress and ability to attract world class players. An intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson and lucrative new deal seemed to appease him but those grumbles of dissatisfaction are proving prophetic.
Robin van Persie has been the one true world class addition since but United have struggled to attract others as Chelsea and Manchester City continue to invest heavily.

Much rests on Moyes's shoulders, and the business sense of chief executive Ed Woodward, to buck that trend starting in January. Qualification for the Champions League knockout stages will help in the laws of attraction but how quickly that squad can be molded into born-again Premier League title contenders will have a bearing on Rooney's decision.