By Wayne Veysey

1st Mar, 2017 | 11:53am

Andy Hinchcliffe delivers damning verdict on Everton transfer pursuit

By Alex Stevens

Andy Hinchcliffe has delivered a damning verdict on Everton’s attempts to persuade Wayne Rooney to return to the club.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh both went public this week with their interest in signing the Manchester United record scorer in the summer.

But former Everton defender Hinchcliffe, who made 211 appearances for the club in the 1990s, cast doubt on the validity of bringing Rooney back to his boyhood club.

Sky Sports pundit Hinchcliffe, 48, claims the pursuit smacks of short-termism from Everton and would also not be an ideal transfer for the player.

“You can’t go back to Everton for sentimental reasons,” Hinchcliffe told Sky Sports’ Premier League Daily show on Wednesday morning.

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“If you look at Everton, everything’s moving forward in terms Ronald Koeman, the money they’re spending on players, the style of football they’re looking to play and what they’re looking to achieve.

“I’m not saying Wayne Rooney would be a backward step but, to me, it would be a bit sentimental; it would be a short-term solution. Maybe for a year or more he could give something to Everton.

“Of course he would love to go back to the club he started his career with. But is that what Everton really need? Is that what Wayne Rooney really needs? I am not so sure.

“In terms of United, they have got the FA Cup, the Europa League and challenging in the Premier League – they are going to need him to do some kind of job. He clearly won’t play week in, week out, but he is going to play some part between now and the end of the season.

“There was talk of him going to China and I think it’s really encouraging that he didn’t go, if that opportunity was there. Where he actually ends up will be really interesting but I am not sure Everton is right for either the player or the club.”

The Times claimed on Wednesday morning the Merseysiders are targeting big-money swoops for Rooney, 31, and Burnley centre-back Keane, 24 in the summer window.

It is said that Everton will intensify their efforts to land their academy product Rooney after the Mail reported last week the forward had made the bombshell decision to leave Old Trafford after growing resigned to his fringe status in the team.

The Times claim Everton were rebuffed by United in the January window when they made an ambitious bid to sign him on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Rooney has found his game time at United limited this season following the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer and the emergence of Marcus Rashford.

He was an unused substitute last Sunday as Ibrahimovic’s heroics secured the League Cup for United in a thrilling 3-2 win against Southampton at Wembley.

United are only one position and four points above Everton in the Premier League table, with Koeman’ side in seventh following an impressive sequence of results since the turn of the year.

In other Everton transfer news, the club have agreed the terms of an out-of-window striker transfer.

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