By Matt Farr
Everton have been dealt a major blow in their attempts to bring Wayne Rooney back to the club, according to a report.
Italian agent Vincenzo Morabito has claimed that Rooney cannot be sold to another English club, and that the United man had been offered to Italian outfit Napoli.
“That could lead him to Spain and Italy. He was, I repeat, offered to Napoli.”
If Morabito’s claims are true, the door also opens from clubs in China and the MLS to swoop in for Rooney.
The Chinese Super League has already shown they have the financial pulling power to attract high-profile stars to Asia, while a team like Napoli will be less willing to match Rooney’s £300,000 per week wage.
The Manchester United star, who is currently the Premier League’s highest-earning player on £300,000 per week, has been linked with a summer exit from Old Trafford.
The England captain has scored just three goals for United this season, and according to the Express, was offered to Napoli earlier in the year.
Everton were keen to land their former youth star, who left to join United in 2004, with Ronald Koeman looking to sign the 31-year-old either on a loan deal or on a permanent basis.
Football Insider verdict
It’s a difficult situation for Wayne Rooney at Manchester United, because very few people really know for certain what is happening. From the outside, his relationship with Jose Mourinho appears fragile, but without knowing what is going on within the club itself, it is pure speculation at this stage.
Rooney is no longer a prolific striker though, that is for certain. At United, he has developed into much deeper role, often in the centre of midfield, but that means he is no longer the best option. With the likes of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan now arrived at the club, Rooney is not the best in his position. At 31-years-old, Rooney has a lot still to offer but could be considered on the decline as a footballer – a top-class one anyway – and with that in mind, Mourinho could be thinking about letting him go at the end of the season.
If what Morabito says is true, there’s only two realistic options for him, and that is China or the MLS. However, if Morabito’s claims are wrong, then the door opens back up to a wide range of options. Europe remains a likely option, but if Rooney was to remain in England it would surely be for no-one other than Everton, purely based on the history they have together. It’s certainly one to watch.