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18th Feb 2017

Manchester United may be willing to sell Wayne Rooney in next 10 days for monster fee

End of an era

Nooruddean Choudry

Wayne Rooney has well and truly cemented his place as a Manchester United all-time great.

Overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record number of goals (249) earlier this season was a historic landmark for the Red Devils’ captain which will very possibly never be surpassed. It has led to a groundswell of good will from even his most vocal and fervent critics, and is a testament to the player’s natural talent and admirable staying power. For many he will go down as the last great British ‘street footballer’.

But this season has also marked a significant, but perhaps understandable, demotion in his overall standing in the United squad. Starting the campaign as an automatic pick – a privilege he has always enjoyed at Old Trafford – the club captain has gradually been cast as an increasingly peripheral figure as matchday picks are announced. As his powers wane, so has his status as a guaranteed starter has disappeared.

Rooney has not started a Premier League game since mid-December, and according to the Telegraph, he is increasingly receptive to move to the Chinese Super League. It was initially thought that the former Everton man would make a megabucks move to the Far East in the summer, but according to the broadsheet, a transfer in the next 10 days (the Chinese transfer window closes a week on Tuesday) may now happen.

It is understood that Jose Mourinho would not stand in the player’s way if a huge bid from China was forthcoming. The main factor that negated a January move was reportedly the player himself, as he was tried to fight for his first team berth. But with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Paul Pogba all competing in the 9 and 10 roles, that seems unlikely.

Paul Scholes was frank about Rooney’s current predicament:

“It’s a strange one. No one will be more frustrated than Wayne at not playing. Being a sub will be driving him up the wall…he has real competition. It will be killing him just coming in for the Europa League or the FA Cup. But it’s up to him.”

With the mammoth prices that Chinese clubs are doling out for even veteran talents at present, a £40m bid would seriously tempt the hierarchy at Old Trafford, whilst the player himself would be looking at a whopping £32m-a-year contract.