Apparently some fella called Wayne Rooney wants to leave a club called Manchester United and this is causing something of a stir in the UK press.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson appeared to take the news that his start striker wants to leave Old Trafford particularly badly and bared his "terribly disappointed" soul to the press in a way he never has before. Or did he?
The Guardian's Barney Ronay smells something fishy in the unusual actions of Ferguson, who was jarringly reasonable, and believes it might be nothing more than a PR exercise, with round one clearly going to the United manager.
"He's been a bludgeon, he's been a curmudgeon, he's been a purveyor of bloody-minded imperial pronouncements. Today, presiding at one of the most eagerly awaited appearances in the brief but intense history of routinely scheduled Champions League press conferences, Sir Alex Ferguson revealed another side to his late-evolving public persona.
Disarmingly unapoplectic, jarringly reasonable, Ferguson appeared before his public cast against type in the surprise role of managerial Jewish grandmother. Baffled, quietly rueful, concerned but not angry, this was a perfectly crafted and expertly restrained display of Portnoy-ish why-oh-why. By the end of it, drinking in that artless gaze of maternal disbelief, listening to the carefully reasoned soliloquy of betrayal, we all felt a little bit guilty on Wayne Rooney's behalf.
A self-preserving gambit it may have been, not to mention a brilliantly polished piece of public relations, but at times you could almost feel the twitch on the invisible thread. No, you go, Wayne. It's for the best, really. Don't worry about any of us.
From his first appearance on the dais it was clear that this was Ferguson on full beam. Crisply groomed, sprucely coiffed, even a little thrusting and silver fox-like in an overly large knotted tie and no-nonsense white shirt, Ferguson spoke in a single emotional register. This was the voice of quietly borne betrayal ("Terribly disappointing ... couldn't quite understand it ... never had an argument"). It was a peculiarly timeless kind of generational disappointment, infused at times with a breathless, Barbara Cartland-ish sense of wistfulness: "He intimated, in his own way, he wanted to leave ... I was very disappointed."
However, nothing happens at Manchester United these days without it being tied to the Glazer's debt-ridden regime, at least nothing negative, and in The Telegraph Henry Winter claims the Rooney situation exposes shame of the American owners' reign at Old Trafford.
"One ball, in fact more a hand grenade from Ferguson, is in Rooney's court. Another has landed in the Glazers' court.
If Rooney looks intent on leaving, believing United lack ambition, worrying about what life at Old Trafford holds with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs winding down, and with Ferguson's own long-term plans in doubt, the Glazers must act quickly to prove to Ferguson they can still compete. Don't hold your breath.
Anyone with an ounce of understanding of Ferguson's DNA knows he is a fighter and so any talk of empires crumbling remains premature. We have been down this road before with United and Ferguson, predictions of eras ending proving ill-founded but this is undoubtedly the greatest crisis the Scot has faced since 1990.
Once again, he's holding the club together. Once again, he's trying to build a trophy-winning side in an age of debt brought on by the unloved Glazers.
To lose one star like Cristiano Ronaldo could be considered a misfortune. To lose another in Rooney looks more than carelessness; it looks like the dread hand of debt holding United and Ferguson back. The shame of the Glazers' regime is now fully exposed."