For Manchester United, it was £26 million well spent when they finally committed to the Wayne Rooney move.
As the world’s most expensive teenager in 2004, Wayne Rooney was under plenty of pressure when he put pen to paper on his switch from Everton to Manchester United.
It wasn’t long before he silenced any doubters as United’s new No. 8 hit a hat-trick on his debut for the club in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahce.
But it might have been so different as Rooney has explained how his move came to fruition after impressing with 17 goals for the Toffees.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 24, 2020
United were not the only club interested in the young English striker and while Everton were eager to accept a bid from Chelsea, it was another club that Rooney came closest to joining before his dream transfer to Old Trafford was realised.
“I knew it [joining United] was an option before Euro 2004. I knew Manchester United wanted to sign me,” Rooney said on the UTD Podcast.
“I think going to the Euros and doing well there probably added a bit more money onto the transfer fee but I broke my foot and found out a few things.
“Everton were really struggling for money at the time and I found out they were listening to offers from people as well.
“They were trying to push me to sign for Chelsea because they were going to pay the most money. But, once I knew United were interested, I wanted some confirmation that they did want to sign me.”
Rooney, who would go on to become United’s record goalscorer, was considered something of a gamble among board members when Sir Alex Ferguson urged them to get the deal done.
The forward explained how United initially wanted to hold off for another season before committing to the fee but when Newcastle came calling, the Red Devils pulled their finger out.
“It was 40 minutes from my home, where I grew up, as well and it was a perfect fit for me. United actually wanted to wait a year, until the following year, but then Newcastle came into talks with Everton and with myself,” Rooney said.
“I’d gone too far then. I couldn’t wait another year, I couldn’t stay another year at Everton, so I was prepared to go to Newcastle for that year.
“I spoke to them, we spoke about salary and what I wanted if I went there was, after a year, if Manchester United come in, you have to let me go.
“Newcastle were agreeing to that but obviously, with United, I went back to them and said, ‘if you don’t do it now, I’ll go to Newcastle with a clause in place.’ United obviously didn’t want me to go there so I came here.
“It was basically whatever Newcastle paid for me, United would have paid a year later.”