The Wayne Rooney rumor mill has been churning for quite some time. The ex-Everton man has been linked with moves to China, Major League Soccer, and of course, a transfer back to Goodison Park.
Most recently, the Mirror reported that the Blues tried to lure Rooney back to the club in the winter window, and may return for the player this summer.
Rooney’s old club made the bold attempt to buy back their former striker during the January window.
Rooney left the Blues for United for £27million in 2004. They will now review whether to return for Rooney in the summer.
Details of Everton’s attempt to lure Rooney can be revealed as the England skipper snubbed a lucrative move to China to stay at United for the rest of this season.
When asked if Rooney could still cut it in the Premier League, Everton boss Ronald Koeman said: “Yeah I think Wayne Rooney is still on that high level to compete in a competition like the Premier League.
While there’s no doubt that fans on Merseyside would love the sentimentality of Rooney back in royal blue, there are a number of roadblocks standing in the way of a potential move.
Besides the obvious issue of a hefty transfer fee for a player who will then be 32, Rooney’s wage demands relative to his potential role in the side will be a concern. So, too, will be the factor of Rooney needing playing time possibly blocking the development of Everton’s young forwards and advanced midfielders like Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman, and Tom Davies.
It’s no secret that the Toffees need a number 10, and the added veteran leadership would be a definite plus as Gareth Barry and Phil Jagielka are phased out of the squad. However, Rooney is not a clear upgrade on Everton’s other options in that position like Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley, so it seems his fit in the team would be awkward at best.
The possibilities for Rooney himself are equally clear as mud. It’s likely he is eyeing a spot on the England roster for the 2018 World Cup, and while China represents the most appealing financial decision, it would be a shock if Gareth Southgate made a selection from that league for the world’s biggest tournament.
MLS is seemingly the best fit for Rooney’s current playing ability, but there are cautionary tales there as well. Sebastian Giovinco is unquestionably the league’s top player, however, he remains frozen out of the Italy squad due to the manager’s concerns about the league’s level of competition.
And so, at the end of the day, Rooney turns his gaze back to the Premier League. He has recently stated that the only English clubs he will play for are Manchester United and Everton, as well as the fact that he will not be leaving Old Trafford this year prior to the Chinese transfer window closing.
The Rooney conundrum is one with no good answer, but it bears watching closely as Everton’s former teenage prodigy increasingly finds himself on the fringes of the Manchester United first team.