Manchester United: Mourinho to rotate; battle for Madrid midfielder; Rooney is "finished"
The Manchester Evening News claim that Jose Mourinho is again set to rotate his Manchester United line-up for this week’s Europa League tie against Ukranian side Zorya Luhansk. The minnows drew with Fenerbahce on the opening day and have lost just once in the league this season, but Mourinho is again set to make changes, having made an astonishing eight changes for the first tie of the competition up against Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
It leaves a number of players fighting for their futures and will give them a fresh opportunity to impress, with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo nowhere near the first team in the Premier League campaign. It may also provide a new opportunity to ostracised captain Wayne Rooney, who was dropped from the starting line-up against Leicester City at the weekend and may face a fight on his hands to regain a place in the starting eleven.
The club are also rumoured to be eyeing up a potential replacement for Rooney, with Real Madrid midfielder Isco one of the top priority targets according to the Sun. The Red Devils believe that they may be able to secure a deal for the former Malaga playmaker for as little as £25 million but may face stiff competition from Italian giants AC Milan, who are hoping to build a side around the unhappy midfielder.
Isco has great pace and skill and is believed to be unhappy at the Bernabeu due to his lack of game time, with club bosses seeing him as an unnecessary expense in an already bloated squad, so they may be tempted to allow him to leave the club cheaply. The Spaniard is keen to rebuild his career and would be the perfect alternative to Rooney, with his pace and mobility much more likely to suit a midfield featuring Paul Pogba. However, any move could be dependent upon whether the club are willing to write off their captain or not.
According to pundit Ian Wright, Rooney could well be witnessing the end of his career unfold from the bench at Old Trafford, as he said:
“It looks like the beginning of the end for Wayne Rooney. He looks tired and most of all, he looks forlorn. All the stick weighs you down and people have been saying he shouldn’t be in the team since the start of the season. Juan Mata was the difference on Saturday. The first time a 17-year-old Nicolas Anelka trained with us at Arsenal, I knew I had 18 months left max. There was no way I was stopping that tidal wave. He had everything. I was sat on the bench, watching the future. That’s a situation Rooney could find himself in.”
The Manchester United and England captain has come under increasing pressure since poor displays at the Euros have only compounded fears that the former Everton sensation is past his best, with no-one quite sure where he best fits into Jose Mourinho’s current plans despite him stating that Rooney does have a future at the club.
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