Just thinking out loud here...
- last season, MU were carried by a great performance by Rooney, which compensated for their loss of their previously best player, Ronaldo;
- MU are already suffering from significant injuries, especially Hargreaves and Valencia;
- there is nobody waiting in the wings to replace Rooney;
- the rest of the team is looking decidedly ropey - as they did last year, but that was hidden behind Rooney's genius.
Of course, the last six months hasn't seen Rooney playing as he did, but why was that? Rushed back too soon after his injury?
So - despite having probably the greatest football manager ever, MU are looking distinctly vulnerable for at least this season - fourth place is by no means unthinkable.
Now add that to the precarious financial situation, whereby success on the field is essential to keep paying down the Glazers' debt, and suddenly what was a virtuous spiral starts to look ominously like a vicious one.
Of course, this is sheer speculation :)
As for where Rooney is going to go, I'm not convinced about Spain. Real Madrid have overspent on forwards, and I can't see Rooney wanting to play second fiddle to Ronaldo again. As for Barca, that would surely be a better fit - but they too have just splashed out on a new striker, and they are cash-strapped. I have a sneaking feeling that he is going to go to Chelsea - he is, after all, six or seven years younger than Drogba, and one of the few people on earth who could conceivably do as good a job...
(Of course 2 - he and Lord Ferg might just kiss and make up, but I think not. Now that it has gone public, I can't see SAF backing down).