With just 20 months left on his contract, Manchester United are planning to offload unsettled skipper Wayne Rooney next summer as overseas clubs begin to circle around him, The Mirror reports.
The veteran attacker, who has been benched by both United and England in recent weeks and is struggling to find form, could seriously consider his options come the end of this season and it is looking increasingly likely that this could his final spell at Old Trafford.
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New United manager Jose Mourinho has done what his predecessors Louis Van Gaal and David Moyes didn’t and dropped the club captain.
So far the decision has paid off, with the likes of Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and even Paul Pogba looking far more dangerous.
Rooney’s performances of late have been a world away from what Premier League fans were used to seeing from him down the years, as his wonderful goals and accurate assists have seemingly been replaced by his overly relaxed work rate and poor passing.
However, with the player currently on £300,000-a-week and being just less than a fortnight away from turning 31, United face the prospect of having to pay up the remainder of his deal if they want to offload him.
If he was to leave United, then it is fair to say that Rooney would not be short on options as clubs from the USA and China would be more than willing to sign him up – even if it is more about the commercial side to him than the playing side.
Whilst he may have to settle for less money with a move to the States, there’s no doubting that a switch to the Chinese Super League would see him earn a very lucrative wage – take ex-Porto and Zenit man Hulk as an example, as he is on a whopping £320,000-a-week with Shanghai SIPG.
In America though there would be the chance to link-up with old England team-mates such as Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole at LA Galaxy or Frank Lampard at New York City FC.
Despite all the overseas interest and the lure of big money, Rooney’s representatives have expressed his desire to stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place under Mourinho.
However, it must come as a shock to him that he will never again be the main man for United or England, and has been reduced to the unfamiliar role of a bit-part player.
Over the past 12 years or so, Rooney’s place in the starting line-up at Old Trafford and indeed on the international scene has been pretty much guaranteed, but it is apparent that all is about to change for the once prolific goal-scorer.