Confident Rooney raring to go
Wayne Rooney is not interested in casting envious glances at Real Madrid or Manchester City, and is confident Manchester United already have the quality at their disposal to land the major prizes. The entire football world has been staggered at the enormous amounts of money shelled out by the men controlling the purse strings at the Bernabeu and Eastlands.
It seems like every few days another expensive purchase is being agreed, with Real smashing the world transfer record twice in a single week to land Kaka and then Cristiano Ronaldo. City have profited at United's expense, too, by acquiring Carlos Tevez, while Matthew Upson is said to be top of the list of alternatives should Joleon Lescott's capture from Everton prove elusive.
Rooney is interested to see how it works out for the big-spending pair. But he is not jealous, or worried, about what it means for the Red Devils. "There is no element of jealousy at the money City and Real Madrid have been spending," he said. "If our manager felt he needed to spend, he would.
"But I don't believe we need too many changes. We have won the league for the last three seasons and reached the Champions League final twice in a row, so why would we need five or six players? I think the manager has probably got it right."
Sir Alex Ferguson would almost certainly have bought another experienced forward if the summer prices had not been so prohibitive. An offer was made to Lyon for Karim Benzema, only for the United manager to pull out when the price went over £30m, leaving the France international to join Real Madrid.
There is interest in Atletico Madrid's Sergio Aguero, but United have been faced with a £50m fee they are not willing to pay for the Argentina goal-getter.
So, for all the promise of Federico Macheda, the 18-time English champions do appear to be an attacker short, which, after losing a player who has contributed an average goal tally in excess of 30 per year for the last three seasons, raises inevitable questions. Rooney is content they will be answered.
"Cristiano is the best player in the world," he said. "If you lose him of course there are going to be questions asked. But we have brought Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia in and they have settled in fairly quickly, so it is on us to build on that.
"We might need to play a little bit of a different style to try and keep winning games and trying to win trophies, but I am confident we will manage it." There is nothing revolutionary about the new style, merely a return to a couple of orthodox wide players, with one forward dropping behind another.
In theory, then, a return to the role Rooney likes best, the one where he has proved so effective for England. Except the same thing was promised by Ferguson 12 months ago and it did not quite materialise, as Ronaldo's increasing reluctance to do any defending left a gap on the wing that the former Everton player was eventually called upon to fill.
"The manager has said I will play a more central role and I have said quite often that it is my preferred position," Rooney said, smiling. "I am not sure whether it will happen, whatever the manager says goes.
"But I was delighted to play there against Chelsea yesterday and I hope to stay there for most of the season. Put it this way, if I keep scoring goals from this position it will justify why I have been selected there and then I don't see any reason why he would play me out wide."
Berbatov ready to sparkle
Rooney has certainly made a good start judging by his performance against Chelsea in the Community Shield yesterday. And, for all the furore that surrounds Owen, Dimitar Berbatov would appear to be the man most likely to partner him. So often a peripheral figure last term, United's £30.75m record signing seems to have a renewed vigour ahead of his second season at Old Trafford.
Rooney can sense it, which is why he is expecting big things of the Bulgarian. "You can see in training and games during pre-season Dimitar has looked sharper," he said. "He looks like he is more determined.
"He is tracking back with the full-backs in pre-season and is definitely working harder and trying to impress. He is a brilliant player. He has so much quality he has got and we all want him to show it."