Is Wayne Rooney the right choice for Arsenal?

England v Ukraine - Group D: UEFA EURO 2012

I know that I might sound a little off my rocker for continuing to resist a move for Wayne Rooney. Given his tense history with David Moyes—one that includes Moyes suing Rooney for libel and getting a settlement of as much as £150k—a move away from Old Trafford seems more than likely for Wazza.

However, I’m still not sure Arsenal should work very hard (or spend very much) to get him. In an exchange I had in another forum, I learned that he’s not quite the prima donna or negative influence I had assumed him to be.

In an interview earlier this week, Jack Wilshere said it would be “amazing” to have Rooney at Ashburton Grove. I’m going to have to go ahead and accept that at face-value—Jack has played with Rooney for the Three Lions and knows of what he speaks. It’s not like he was posed a direct question along the lines of “should Arsenal sign Rooney?”

In the interview, ESPN’s David Hirshey says “rumour has it you might be joined by one more [British player]” and shows Rooney’s autobiography to Jack. In other words, Jack was under no pressure to say more than was necessary, but he went on to say, “he puts his arm around you and looks after you.”

At any rate, there’s been a good amount of talk, whether it’s Gazidis saying “of course we could [sign Rooney]” or Wenger saying “who could turn [Rooney] down?”

We’ve apparently launched a £20m bid for him, a figure I could certainly live with and not just because I still cling to the quaint idea that one shouldn’t spend more than one has. Even if his eventual fee climbs to £25m or even £30m, I can live with it.

After all, we are talking about one of England’s best players and the EPL’s 6th all-time leading scorer. At 27, he probably still has a few quality seasons in him. But does he have enough to be a 20-to-25 goal-scorer? Again, probably.

However, I’m still on the fence. I look at our squad, and here’s what I see: Walcott, on the verge of 20 to 25 league goals; Cazorla, ready to build on his 12 EPL league goals; Podolski, with 11 league goals in spot-appearances, and Giroud, with 11 league goals and ready for more.

By and large, scoring hasn’t been a problem, although we have been guilty of goal-orgies and periods of asceticism. We’d do well to spread our goals out a bit. We’ve already brought in Sanogo, scorer of four goals in seven appearances for France’s U20 squad. He’s a project, of course.

On the other end, we have the impending signature of Gonzalo Higuain. He’s hardly the proverbial bird in the hand, of course, but he’d likely go for 20 league goals in his first season. What I’m getting at is that, even without Rooney, we might go for 75 goals in the EPL, if not more.

However, there is one factor that goes in Rooney’s favour: ferocity.

Few in the league can match him in terms of pure desire. When he’s engaged, there are few players more electrifying than Rooney. There’s a passion and an intensity there that, even if occasionally regrettable in its articulation, reveals a competitor who is irresistible.

If he can be had for under £30m, Arsenal should go for it. Anything much above that, however, makes me worry. We have other needs to address, after all. I know we’re flush and looking to spend, but wouldn’t we be better served by moving for two or even three other players instead of this one?


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