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Could Rooney return to Everton on a free transfer?

Reports say Manchester United likely to waive a transfer fee

Everton v Villarreal - Pre Season Friendly
Will Everton be welcoming Rooney back to the fold after all?
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Football fans knew that the Wayne Rooney to Everton “will he, won’t he” saga would drag on for months and months. In the latest little episode of that soap opera, the Independent are now reporting two key developments that could make the move edge closer to possible - Manchester United waiving a transfer fee, and Rooney halving his wage demands.

The Red Devils under Jose Mourinho have pushed the veteran closer to the door, and he has little or no part to play in the team’s current season any more. The club however are trying to do right by their top goal scorer in history and will likely do whatever he asks for as he prepares to exit Old Trafford.

In recent weeks, both Director of Football Steve Walsh and manager Ronald Koeman have spoken highly of the forward, saying that he still has a lot to offer. Unconfirmed reports also claimed that Everton had made inquiries for the local-born player during the January transfer window.

However, even with Rooney taking a paycut to drop to £150,000 a week, that would still make him the Blues highest-paid player by far. Would Everton choose to pay a player that much to start about half the games in a season? Besides, with Walsh and Koeman’s current strategy of buying and grooming young players working wonders, why would they choose to rock that boat with the signing of a diva like Rooney?

Wayne Rooney of Everton celebrates scoring the first goal
Wayne Rooney celebrates a goal at Goodison Park
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Rooney’s choice of club at the end of this season will likely be affected by where he sees his England future going. He was dropped this week from Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad, and should he want to play in the 2018 World Cup, staying in the Premier League would represent a better chance at making that dream come true than a financially lucrative payday in the MLS or the China Super League.