By Matt Farr
Everton director of football Steve Walsh has revealed the club would be open to a return for Manchester United ace Wayne Rooney.
The 31-year-old has slipped down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford this season, and has been tipped to quit the club at the end of the campaign.
Everton have been strongly linked with a move for their former star, and reportedly made attempts to sign him during last month’s transfer window.
Walsh has now revealed to Sky Sports that Everton would be keen to bring Rooney back to the club, after allowing him to join Manchester United for £25.6million in 2004.
Sky Sports posted his comments in their live Everton blog on Tuesday (10:49am).
He said: “Rooney is one of the greatest players ever to play football in England. For us not to be interested in him it would be wrong.
“If the opportunity arose for him to come back, and it sat right with everybody, then it’s something we’d look at.
“He’s a class apart. All the things said about him are true and I think he’s one of England’s greatest ever players, so why would he not be of interest to us?”
Walsh’ revelation could be music to the ears of Everton fans, who will no doubt welcome the prospect of Rooney returning to the club if it moves them one step closer to achieving their goal of becoming an elite Premier League side.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman, meanwhile, has also opened the door for Rooney to return to Goodison Park
His reported £230,000-per-week wages, however, could prove to be a stumbling block.
Rooney has made 29 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United this term, but has been granted just 18 starts, while he has yet to complete the full 90 minutes of a league match since September.
The England international burst onto the scene with Everton as a teenager, scoring 17 goals from 77 appearances before his move to Manchester United.
Football Insider verdict
The public declaration of interest could be just the catalyst Everton need to push through a deal for Rooney. The ongoing uncertainty over his long-term future with Manchester United point to a likely summer move for the 31-year-old, but while there will no doubt be a host of Premier League sides fronting the queue, Everton are the only realistic option for him given their history. Everton are improving under Ronald Koeman and are only a few top-class players away from mounting a serious challenge for a place in the top-four, and landing Rooney will be a real statement of intent.
In other Everton transfer news, this emerging PL star has reportedly caught the eye of the Everton recruitment team.