Signing Wayne Rooney Would Be The Most Significant Transfer Of Our Time

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Jun 20th, 2013

18 years ago today Arsenal signed Dennis Bergkamp and he is probably our most significant signing to date. Dennis will always be our greatest ever signing but Rooney is reportedly on our radar and I believe that if it happened Wayne would become not only Arsenal’s biggest ever signing but also the most significant transfer of our time, maybe even bigger than Ronaldo to Madrid.

Rooney’s future has been the subject of much speculation since Ferguson proclaimed to the press that Rooney had handed in a second transfer request. I’ve heard that it is actually Manchester United that wants him out and not him that wants to leave but I’ll leave the hearsay to the papers.

Arsenal's greatest ever signing

Arsenal’s greatest ever signing

The first thing that happens whenever the Rooney to Arsenal rumour is mentioned is people immediately respond with tales of Arsenal not being able to afford him or “never gonna happen”. Well, recently Ivan Gazidis claimed Arsenal could now afford to launch a bid for Wayne Rooney if they wanted.

We could do that; we could do more than that. We have a certain amount which we’ve held in reserve and we also have new revenue streams coming on board

We are moving into a new phase where, if we make our decisions well, we can compete with any club in the world

Though according to some, Gazidis pointing out that Arsenal can afford him is nothing more than an attempt to make people sit up and take notice. If that is the case then good on Ivan. It’s good to see the club trying to improve their credibility as a force in transfers to other clubs after years of selling. With the cash Arsenal have to buy new players maybe now is a good time to test your luck and lay a wager or two at

Reports suggest that Arsenal have the financial power to make a move for one of the highest profile strikers around but there would be big obstacles to overcome and these reasons are why I feel Wayne Rooney would be the most significant transfer of our time.

It pains me to say it as an Arsenal supporter but you don’t get much bigger than Manchester United except maybe for Real Madrid. The transfer of Ronaldo to Madrid would come a close second to a Rooney to Arsenal move because moving to Madrid from United is a little bit of a step up. I am reticent to say that United to Arsenal is a step backwards but in recent times it would hardly have been a step forwards or even a step sideways.

© Getty Images

© Getty Images

Manchester United is not a club that usually sells their best players to league rivals. So to convince a starter for United to leave and join us, regardless of their personal reasons for moving on, is a coup. We could probably get a player like Nani from United but as he isn’t a regular starter it’s of no significance. It’s a step up from buying Silvestre from them but it pales in comparison to buying one of their best players.

If Rooney was to leave Old Trafford for a rival club he would have to push for that move himself but maybe replacing the man who took his centre-forward spot and pushed him into midfield may be of interest. Rooney is a character and doing what Van Persie couldn’t and propelling Arsenal to titles is the type of statement I can see a player like him wanting to make.

In the years to come, that might be somewhere I could play, but, right now, I’m definitely a centre forward. I’m after more goals. I’ve played up front on my own a few times for Manchester United and it’s a role I’m very comfortable with.

This doesn’t mean he is looking to leave nor does it even remotely suggest that Rooney wants to play for Arsenal but something else does. Reportedly, and I say reportedly because I didn’t see it myself, Wayne Rooney sent a tweet to Jack Wilshere recently suggesting he was looking forward to playing with him soon. Now, Wayne could have meant for the national team but I doubt it as he must surely know that Jack is injured. Rooney also reportedly deleted the tweet soon after publishing it which wouldn’t be surprising as footballers and even journalists and clubs are known to tweet things they aren’t meant to and quickly delete them.

I know many United fans have expressed their distaste for Rooney over the past few seasons due to his last attempt to leave and form over the past two seasons. Despite this disdain I am certain that none of them could ever imagine Rooney leaving to play for Arsenal. As Arsenal supporters know good and well, watching one of your best players play in another strip is extremely painful.

Wants to play with this chap?

Come on Wayne, give us a hug! (© PA)

I don’t think it is unfair to say that Rooney has been the jewel in Manchester United’s crown for a long time and to sign a player, technically in his prime, with 5 league titles, 1 Champions League and 2 league cups to his name would be an incredible purchase and a real blow to a rival.

Imagine prying Rooney off United the way they pried Van Persie off us? Do you see the significance I am talking about now?

Higuain is a fine player and one I would love to see at Arsenal but if the choice was mine to make I would choose Rooney. Commercially he is by far the better choice and I think he performs in the big matches a little better than Higuain although as Gonzalo has mostly been used as a sub I don’t feel comfortable saying that would be the case for certain. He has premier league experience, he is home-grown, he is undeniably one of the most talented players around (despite his recent dip) and he is actually a regular.

Higuain is not a regular for Real Madrid so the statement we would be making by signing him would be far less powerful (though still significant) than signing Rooney would be and he is less versatile so Rooney edges him out. I have my preference but I would not be remotely sad if we signed Higuain, I would be ecstatic in fact. If by some insane stroke of luck or brilliance we managed to sign both you will find that I will have ground myself into a pile of ash from intense orgasmic overload.


Overall I just feel that Rooney would be a bigger signing than Higuain and the perfect tonic for the RvP transfer. Rooney is a world-class talent and when we sold RvP people said we had sold the last world-class talent we had. Cazorla has been world-class this season but it wouldn’t hurt to have another world-class forward again.

I took a lot of stick last summer when RvP was still ours and I said that with all new purchases taken into consideration I felt there wasn’t much difference between United and Arsenal and player for player I didn’t see us as inferiors.

The response from United fans was predictable and unimaginative. “We finished 19 points ahead of you with the same players”.

My feeling was based on individual player comparisons and the new season bringing not only greater defensive cohesion but a roster of fit players; something we didn’t have in 2011/12. I also considered the impact players like Podolski and Cazorla would have and felt that Giroud was a vast improvement on Chamakh as back-up to Van Persie. I didn’t consider Giroud as Van Persie’s replacement so overall I felt we were closer to United than we were when the season finished 6-8 weeks before.

Now, United signing Van Persie created a “6-pointer” gulf in class. He improved United by the same amount he reduced us by. United may have finished 16 points ahead of Arsenal this season but I still believe my initial thoughts hold water.

Arsenal was better than United defensively but was outscored by 14 goals. Many of the points United picked up were due to Van Persie. Had he stayed I don’t think it is unreasonable to say the gap would have been as big. If anyone wishes to question the impact Van Persie had on that United team or claim that all of his goals and points would have been contributed by another I will kindly ask you to leave because a discussion on football clearly does not suit you. United may still have won the title but Arsenal would not have been 16 points behind.

Goals were the real difference

Goals were the real difference

So back to my original point. If we were to sign Rooney that could have the same effect as the RvP transfer. He isn’t the goalscorer Van Persie has been but he would improve our team by as much as he would reduce the quality in Manchester United’s ranks. Players of the quality of Van Persie and Rooney don’t grow on trees so United would be hard pressed to find a replacement of similar or greater quality.

It also puts them in a delicate situation. Arsenal supporters will remember well the sharp intake of breath every time we saw Robin get tackled or go to ground. We knew that if he was injured we had no real quality in the team to take his place whilst he recovered. If United lose Rooney, to us or anyone else, they are potentially in the same situation. Rooney and Robin are different players but quality breeds quality. If you lose your best player and you don’t have someone in the same level of class to be the beacon you struggle a little.

At 27, Rooney is hitting that sweet spot where you expect to get the best out of a player. I don’t know if he has peaked but we can be sure he has the ability to replicate the form that saw him win title after title with United. I also believe that if anyone can get Rooney back to the top of his game and possibly even improve him it is Arsène Wenger.

Could Wenger get him back on form?

Could Wenger get him back on form?

What works in Arsenal’s favour is that United would be foolish to force him to stay. They don’t have the stability of Ferguson anymore and keeping Rooney against his will may ruin the team. He’ll become unmanageable for the club. And with it being World Cup season Rooney may well want to guarantee a striking spot to refresh his career and finally perform on the world stage in what could well be his last World Cup. At 27 Rooney could get 3 more World Cups but he might see this one fly by and his international career go the same way as Owen’s did.

Arsenal is also an excellent footballing side and this is something that would attract Rooney. Arsenal is a club that would appreciate the vision and ability he has and in joining from United he would have instant hero status. All of these things, combined with Arsenal’s ability to pay him decent wages and the quality of life he’ll have in the capital with his family surely puts Arsenal in the driving seat.

Despite what Arsenal supporter’s think of him as a person I am pretty certain we would all appreciate his ability. His through balls, reverse balls and cross field passes to switch play are things that cannot be taught and the sort of thing we love to see at the Emirates. Another thing we like is a team-player. Rooney may come across as a mercenary but he is very much a team player. He is well-known for sacrificing his own game for the betterment of the team with the main individual beneficiaries being Cristiano and Robin.

A reinvigorated Rooney would be a huge asset for Arsenal and would fit seamlessly with this Arsenal side. When you are at the top they say the only way is down and losing Rooney to a domestic rival and then watching him flourish under new leadership could be crippling.

Maybe he'd look happier if that was Arsenal's title?

Maybe he’d look happier if that was Arsenal’s title?

If Arsenal were to pull off the most significant transfer of our time it would send a ripple through the league and throw the gauntlet down to every other club with designs on the title.

Chelsea and Manchester City fans would be up in arms, wondering why they lost out to that has-been selling club. Every time they drop points the fists will start shaking and feet will be stomped in outrage that Arsenal managed to buy Rooney and they didn’t.

The papers would be buzzing for weeks about this incredible coup that Arsenal have pulled off and Moyes would be under even greater pressure as the man who sold Rooney. The press and fans will taunt him with claims of “this would never have happened on Fergie’s watch” and “this is proof he can’t deal with big players”.

All of this could create instability among the clubs Arsenal will be fighting against for the title and with Arsène probably being the old manager who won’t be under intense scrutiny from his board/owners Arsenal could well be in the driving seat for the Premier League Title 2013/14.

Arsenal don’t make signings like this, we don’t buy world-famous superstars from arguably the biggest club around. So to actually buy Rooney would make a statement so powerful we probably won’t realise it’s impact for maybe even years to come.

This could all well be pie in the sky but I firmly believe that if this happens Rooney to Arsenal will be remembered as one of the all time biggest transfers and the catalyst for a renewed period of Arsenal success.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

35 Responses to “Signing Wayne Rooney Would Be The Most Significant Transfer Of Our Time”

  1. SKOORPIO says:

    have to disagree with your opinion that Bergkamp is Arsenal’s greatest ever signing. I think Arsenal’s best signing was Thierry Henry without a doubt

    • REN VASSILLIOU says:


  2. Yakubu says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a piece that has been written so diligently and informative on Rooney and Arsenal as this one. Bravo! This is by far the best I’ve come across on the subject.
    Kudos mate


    If you go through my Notes over the years you will read I have said that Bergkamp is and still was our best signing of all time ,I said he was the most esablished and most famous in our era, Now then … If we was to buy Rooney the sky is the limit.. Top Top Draw and nothing can Over take that ..That would send chills out to everyone that would doubt Arsenal and snd out a statement to every team in Europe that we want to win the Champions league.. We just need Wenger to pull the trigger… LET’S DO IT…

  4. babasola tokoya lagos nigeria says:

    i will be the happiest person on earth if this should happen as a two top strikers will be ROONEY N HIGUAIN then imagine a midfield four CARZOLA FELLANI ARTETA WALCOTT and a back four of MONREAL /GIBBS KOSCHIENY /VERMALEEN MERTESECKAR /ASLEY WILLIAMS SAGNA /JEKINSON not to mention good players like WILSHERE ROSISCKY CHAIMBERLAIN RAMSEY PODOSKI GNARBY GIROURD N WANYAMA and i can bet that ARSENAL will challenge for PREMIERSHIP FA CUP CARLING CUP and CHAMPIONS LEAGUE and we will win at least two titles

  5. babasola tokoya lagos nigeria says:

    the icing on the cake will be to sign JULIUS CEASAR as keeper as he has been tested proven and experienced

  6. owen says:

    Is a good one, and i agree with all ur reasons. You are a true gooners fan. GOD BLESS U

  7. Ty says:

    Great Blog. Covered all aspects needed.

  8. Peter E says:

    Great article, I like the analysis and I agree with you.

  9. Double canister says:

    Daniel, All true and valid points.
    Except for one: Shrek is a cunt.
    An immensely talented player and currently wasted by his club, but:
    He. Is. A. Cunt.
    And in an Arsenal extra extra large shirt he will be picking up about 10 Yellows and 4 reds a season.
    Yes we can afford him, but that doesn’t mean we should. He’d probably fail the medical anyway.

  10. chukwudi says:

    This is so wonderful,if only it will happen we need to prove to other teams in EPL that we can fight for trophy and buy big players once again.Additional of Rooney and Higuain to this our current crops of players we will go places come next season and teams will be afraid of us once more like before.Can’t wait to see our first signing of the summer GUNNERS for life!!

  11. Daniel says:

    Definitely well argued/written – but in my opinion meaningless, because rooney will never join Arsenal.

  12. Dave says:

    Have to agree with SKOORPIO that Henry is Arsenal’s greatest ever signing, not Bergkamp. Henry became Arsenal’s greatest ever player, unarguably in my view. That surely also makes him Arsenal’s greatest ever signing.

    Ren says Wenger made Henry world class. Well let’s remember that Bergkamp’s Arsenal career only really took off after Wenger came to Arsenal. After a difficult spell at Inter (as Henry had had a hard time at Juventus), Bergkamp wasn’t that great in his first season at Arsenal under Rioch either. So you could make just the same argument that Wenger made Bergkamp world class too. So I’d disagree with Ren that Henry becoming world class under Wenger is enough to stop Henry being a better signing than Bergkamp.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Adams was our most successful captain ever. Should we give the scout who saw him as a kid the credit for signing him?

      Henry is our greatest ever goal-scorer but it doesn’t make him our greatest ever player.

      I love Henry but he wasn’t a signing that made people go oooh like Bergkamp was.

    • Dave says:

      Henry was overall the better player. Not as good a passer but more goals, more assists, more pace and I’d suggest feared more by the opposition. In my view that makes him a better signing than Bergkamp. Going oooh at the time of a signing is meaningless as to how things turn out. Although Bergkamp did turn out a great signing, albeit not as great as Hsnry, people went oooh when Arshavin signed and along with Jeffers he’s surely one of Wenger’s two worst buys.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      No-one went ooh with Jeffers.

      You completely miss the point of my article if you think it’s about a players greatness.

      Also disagree that Henry was the better all round player. He was a close 2nd in my opinion.

    • Dave says:

      And you missed my point if you thought I said people went oooh over Jeffers. I said people did with Arshavin and along with Jeffers he’s one of Wenger’s worst two buys. I respectfully disagree with you if you think Bergkamp is better than Henry. In my view, no way.

      I noticed someone else say Campbell was the biggest signing and I can understand that opinion. He was a truly fantastic central defender we got on a Bosman from Tottenham. My own top three is probably (1) Henry, (2) Campbell (3) Bergkamp.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Phrasing. I misread.

      I could understand you saying Henry was better if you said “just” or “a little bit” but to say suggest that there is no way Bergkamp is as good as or better than Henry is disrespectful to the man in my opinion.

      But hey, it’s all about opinions. I think it’s hard to name Henry as our most significant signing (at the time of signing) purely because he was largely unknown in England and we had just won the double.

      Bergkamp joined at a time Arsenal were labelled boring and uninventive and also based on positions a mid-table team. Very different circumstances and he was an experienced and established player who was recognised as having world-class talent.

      It is hard to quantify “greatest” as I discussed in a blog recently but I think it’s easier to quantify “significance” if you look purely at the time of signing.

      Torres was a big signing for Chelsea on the day but looking back we know it was a waste of cash and the same could be argued for Shevchenko.

    • Dave says:

      I think if you’re talking of ‘greatest signings’ then it isn’t just about what people think at the time of the signing. It’s also about what they contribute in their future at the club. That’s why I consider Henry as Arsenal’s greatest signing because in my view he is the best player I’ve ever seen play for us. In saying that I don’t wish to seem disrespectful to Bergkamp, who was also a fantastic player but in my view, just not as good. Or let me rephrase that to quite as good.

      ‘Greatest’ and ‘most exciting at the time’ isn’t necessarily the same thing. Arshavin was exciting at the time, but looked what happened there.

  13. Granit Abazaj says:

    This piece had me gripped all the way through. Its beautiful and causes all us Arsenal fans to only sit and dream about this possible transfer after years of pain and disappointment.

    Well done.

  14. David says:

    Great piece! Whatever your views on Rooney, there is no doubt that he would bring fresh life into our club and massively improve our squad! Getting 1 over on the mancs would also be a bonus! As to Bergkamp being the greatest ever signing, I would place him second in my list. At the risk of abuse, henry wouldnt feature in the top 3! Although a legend in his own right. 3rd place would be Ian wright, second, as mentioned bergkamp but for our greatest signing it has to be Sol Campbell!! Yes maybe not our best ever player but this was a centre half at the time was deemed to be 1of the best in the world! A player that could have walked into any team in Europe’s elite. Yet he chose to sign for us, the enemy down the road! For the fact that he was the captain of the unmentionables, coveted throughout Europe and quite simply an awesome captain and leader, Sol Campbell is Arsenals greatest signing!

  15. hardy lambing says:

    I admire your point of view. Forward, backward. Bravo mate.

  16. Here are a few negative points that you have failed to discuss –

    Rooney would be called a coup and the “most significant transfer” only if we manage to win anything. [not being pessimistic, just saying that these things are said only in retrospect].
    Then the perception would be that we spent a lot of money trying to make a statement while we could have gone out to buy a decent striker for much cheaper and less wages.

    Rival clubs have all been (and still are) active on the transfer market and could pull off big name signings and flavour of the season signings (young technical spanish players) that could eclipse the real estate that us signing rooney would have on people’s mind, if we fail to win.

    signing Rooney would mean either he takes a massive wage cut (while rival teams would offer him a massive wage hike) or we break our own wage limit and in turn may create discord within the team (think Walcott).

    His temper and fitness are issues.

    certainly not the type of character that fits the Wenger mould. He’s more Thierry Henry/luis Ronaldo (strong, fast, powerful show and deadly on the counter), than a Bergkamp/Messi, (the type which is Wenger’s ideal) who would make short quick passes within the box, show great technical ability, play clever one-twos

    But even if we do sign him, we must consider that he has been playing as CAM/false 9 for an entire season, and expecting him to instantly fit into our system, and rediscover his form and instincts as a striker and be racking up the goals as soon as he comes in would be expecting too much of him. And since he’s high profile, again his every missed chance will be blown out of proportion and the “impact of signing from your rival and one of the biggest clubs” may backfire

    I am @MrASanghvi on Twitter.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      His technical ability is fine and he would fit perfectly into this team.

      It wouldn’t be considered a coup in retrospect at all. It would be considered a coup at the time. Only unknown players can be retrospectively big signings. Big players can be retrospectively bad purchases ie Torres but they are always lauded at the time.

    • his technical ability is fine, sure, I agree. Henry and Luis Ronaldo are technically gifted too, thats why I specify that he may not be the ideal type of striker in terms of the stereotype (“young, agile, technical masterclass”) of player Wenger likes. AW always prefers to sign players who are more technique than brand value. Even when he has the cash – Henry for example.

      I don’t see how without any reasoning you say that he will fit, not just fit, “fit perfectly” into this team. Especially since he’s never played the Arsenal type of football and has no prior experience to link up with non english Arsenal players and is plainly in new surroundings.

      Also, I was answering to the title of the post, the attention grabbing – “most significant transfer of our time”, certainly the significance of a signing can only be looked up retrospectively, since all the brouhaha during the signing would still be nullified if he turns out to be like Torres. The statement of intent and Arsenal’s power that you think will be benefitted by this signing would hold no weight if, say we finished out of top four. (of course, we’ll never finish out of top four!)

  17. ARN says:


  18. mk says:

    I would love signing Rooney but it won’t happen. It just won’t. He’d go to Chelsea before he came here.

    Rooney drinks and eats takeaways for months and then he’s always a bit slow to start the season off. The difference though now is that he’s not 24 anymore. He can’t lose weight as he could and there are real fitness concerns.

    I would absoluteley love if we got him but the facts are

    1. united wouldn’t sell a good Rooney to a ‘rival’ team
    2. If united do give us Rooney its because they have seen evidence that he’s in decline and they should cash in

    now I think this is a brilliant article and shows what an incredible move it could be. But its just not happening in my opinion

    I would love to be wrong though.

  19. Callum says:

    I wanted Rooney to join Arsenal before I read this blog, for obvious reasons.
    After reading this blog, I am absolutely DESPERATE for him to join Arsenal.
    You are so right about the signal of intent this would send to the likes of United & the plastic “more-money-than-sense” clubs (Chelsea, Man City, PSG, etc.)

    Although, I’m interested to know; if we did sign Rooney and Higuain, would Wenger veer away from his trusty 4-3-3 formation, or stick with it, alternating them by form?

    This is wishful thinking, I know, but I’d love to see us bag Rooney, Higuain, Fellaini and another world-class centre back like Hummels / Ranocchia / Papadopoulos during the summer.

  20. Dragan says:

    Now, when Gazidis says they can sign top stars, and pay 250k in wages, I wonder why he couldn`t pay 150k to RvP,and keep him, buy another star to prove title pretensions, and spare us of a frustating season.OK,they signed improved deals with sponsors, but part of it will be available from next year, and that 70m kitty is not spare just in the last year. Kroenke could, knowingly he will receive that money soon, spent from his own pocket,as a loan to the club. In that case, we could have better success in the CL, and in the Premier league, it means more money from prizes,TV, better deals with the sponsors,etc.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Supposedly we offered RvP £150k. Supposedly he still pushed for a move but then changed his mind about leaving when we signed Cazorla but still wouldn’t sign a new contract. We’ll probably never know the truth though.

  21. AmrutsAmrut says:

    Good one Daniel. I was very skeptic when I heard this rumor for the first time. Am still in some ways. As you rightly said , it will be a coup to prise away their 2nd main man. One of the significant things in that Rooney statement is “goals”. For a striker, nothing matters more than goals. Centre stage attention, that is what they want. Something like Hugh Jackman in Prestige. The double act when he goes through the trap door and craves for the applause. At Arsenal we create the best chances. Rooney’s goal instincts will be exactly what we need. I will not be surprised if he scores 30+ in a season (if he comes over that is). Still a long shot. Geoff on twitter keeps giving us teasers , lets hope there is concrete effort.

  22. Nir says:

    Rooney? Thank you but NO thanks!

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