Wayne Rooney could leave Manchester United before the end of the month in a big-money move to the Chinese Super League, according to reports.
Several star players, including Carlos Tevez and Oscar, have already moved to China and it is believed the England captain could be next.
Several media outlets, including The Telegraph, are reporting that Rooney could move to China before the Chinese Super League’s transfer window closes on February 28.
Rooney has fallen down the pecking order at United this season, which has led to him scoring just five goals in 29 appearances in all competitions. There have also been doubts over his fitness after a couple of injuries.
Mourinho is reportedly keen on keeping the 31-year-old at Old Trafford until at least the end of the season. However, he is becoming less needed as time passes.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba are preferred in the number 10 role whilst Rooney is behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford for a place in the forward line.
With no place in the team, a move to the CSL could suit both parties. United would receive a substantial transfer fee as well as cut £300,000-a-week off the wage bill. For Rooney, it would also increase his wages to around £32 million-a-year.
England’s record goalscorer could make his 550th competitive appearance for United in the EFL Cup final on Sunday should he return to fitness.
In his 549 appearances, he has scored 250 goals to make him United’s all-time record goalscorer. He has also won five Premier League titles, the Champions League and Club World Cup since moving to Old Trafford from Everton in 2004.
Having nothing left to prove, or indeed achieve at United, now could be a time for change. A new challenge in China may prove to be more tempting than a lengthy spell on the bench.
There’s sure to be more developments surrounding Rooney’s future before the CSL deadline next week.
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena