We reached the point some time ago where it was assumed that if a star player wants to leave a football club, he will leave it.
If he wants out, he’ll get out.
He may beg and plead.
He may say he needs to move closer to his family.
He may cite broken promises, gentleman’s agreements, contract clauses and masonic handshakes.
He may say he wants to play a better standard of football and test himself at a higher level.
He may say it is necessary that his talent graces the greatest stage of all, the Champions League.
He may say relationships have broken down, that he can never play for the manager again, that he has been persecuted or victimised.
Whatever, he will find a way.
He’ll do it by fair means or by foul but in the end he will always win.
So when David Moyes said categorically on Sunday afternoon , eyebrows were raised.
Most people in football know Rooney wants out.
Most people in football therefore assume Rooney will get out.
But Moyes was adamant.
No ifs, no buts, no qualifications. Just a statement of fact from the new Manchester United manager who is clearly exasperated by the speculation that has trailed the England forward all summer.
At the same time, there is no indication that Rooney’s desire to leave the club for Chelsea has diminished.
Bookmakers are offering odds that he makes his transfer plans clear in an interview after the England-Scotland game tonight.
Sky pundit and former England player Jamie Redknapp feels it is time Rooney forced the issue and left the club.
All that remains is to discover the details of his exit strategy.
Or whether this will be the transfer that bucks the trend, the one where the club is big enough and the manager stubborn enough to win the battle of wills.
We will find out a lot about Rooney in the few weeks that remain between now and the end of the transfer window.
And we will find out even more about where the balance of power lies between star players and big clubs in 2013.
Distil much of the analysis about where Rooney will be playing in the first week of September and it seems to come down to one issue.
How badly is he prepared to behave?
How far is he prepared to push it?
How desperate is he to get away?
Some former players laugh at the idea that United can ever win this battle (Click here for in situations like this).
Their take on it is that Rooney is the last kind of player a club should try to take on.
To them, his mixture of truculence and intransigence is something to be admired.
If they try to tell him he must abide by his contract, he will tell them to be damned, put his feet up and light up a cigarette, they say.
Their interpretation of the situation is that Rooney will basically down tools until he gets what he wants.
And that he has the power to make that work because do United really want their biggest asset wasting away in the reserves?
Do they want to see £30m sliding slowly down the drain while Rooney digs his heels in?
Their scenario goes like this: Nothing will happen until United and Chelsea play at Old Trafford on August 26.
After that, a deal for him to move to Stamford Bridge will be rushed through.
That’s the cynic’s view. That’s the view that says the player always gets his way.
It also disregards the fact that this is a World Cup year.
Does Rooney really want to be sitting on the sidelines, risking his participation in Brazil?
Does he want to exist without first team football? Does he want to make himself a pariah at Old Trafford?
And, critically, does he really believe that Moyes can be forced into letting it happen.
Does he really believe that a club as big as Manchester United will blink first.
Because if they do, they have an awful lot to lose.