Martin Samuel told The Sunday Supplement that Sir Alex Ferguson's admittance that Wayne Rooney requested a move away from Manchester United has dented David Moyes' authority.
Ferguson revealed at the backend of the last campaign - his final one as United chief - that Rooney had handed in a transfer request and speculation over the England striker's future has garnered plenty of column inches over the summer.
Daily Mail man Samuel thinks the Scot's decision to go public about Rooney's discontent was designed to fire up the former Everton player, but says it has instead put undue strain on Moyes as he gears up for his season in charge at Old Trafford.
Speaking on the Rooney transfer saga, which has included two rejected bids from Chelsea, Samuel said: "This became a problem the minute Sir Alex said Rooney had put in a transfer request.
"It was an attempt to put pressure on Rooney but it backfired on Moyes and made him look weaker [than United] would have liked, and has dominated Man United's summer.
"Pre-season has been underwhelming and they haven't really got anybody in, but the biggest problem is that one of their better players looks like he wants to work with somebody else - a coach [Jose Mourinho] perhaps United could have got but didn't.
"This has conspired against Moyes, become his problem and is all about: 'Can Moyes keep the big players?' and 'Do the big players want to work with him?' when actually it was a problem he inherited, not one he caused."
The Daily Star's David Woods feels it is inevitable that Rooney, who arrived at Old Trafford in 2004 and has subsequently scored 141 Premier League goals in 278 appearances, will join Chelsea.
And Mirror writer Martin Lipton reckons a switch to Stamford Bridge could benefit Rooney and, if he heads into next summer's World Cup confident and in peak condition, Roy Hodgson's England team, too.
"I think it is past the point of no return and I think Rooney will go, said Woods of a player who has won five Premier League titles at Old Trafford.
"I think is tactical as United don't want him to go before the game against Chelsea [Mon, Aug 26] and before they bring someone in - the ideal scenario would have been to bring in a world-class player Cesc Fabregas to appease supporters.
"But Chelsea are confident that it is wrapped up, and I think some of the United players might want to see him go because he is obviously a disruptive influence."
Lipton added: "Rooney feels that he has been slighted and doesn't want to play for United and if by going to Chelsea he plays better than he has over the last two seasons, it is good for him, Chelsea and England.
"Assuming England get to Brazil, what we do need and the one thing that has never happened is Rooney to turn up a World Cup finals right in mind and body as he has been neither at the last two."