By support

3rd Mar, 2017 | 1:17pm

Three senior players Everton could axe if they sign proven PL performer

COMMENT By Matt Farr

The hot transfer story in the Everton camp ahead of this summer is the potential return of boyhood fan and academy prodict Wayne Rooney.

The latest report from the Times suggests that Everton will be making a concrete approach for the 31-year-old Manchester United star at the end of the season, after both Ronald Koeman and Steve Walsh publicly declared their interest.

Yet while some fans do not believe that Rooney would be a guaranteed starter if he were to move to Goodison Park, there are likely to be a few senior players that could be axed to accommodate his arrival.

Plus, Rooney is believed to be earning £230,000-per-week at Old Trafford, and Everton may seek to raise the necessary funds before committing themselves to a deal.

Here are three senior players that could be facing the chop if Rooney arrives back in Merseyside:

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James McCarthy

Given Rooney now appears to fall into the category of a midfielder, the man most likely to suffer from his arrival is James McCarthy.

The Republic of Ireland ace, 26, has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular under Ronald Koeman this season, and the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin in the January window will do little to help his case.

He has been restricted to just 12 appearances in all competitions, having also fallen behind Idrissa Gueye in the pecking order, who is another of Koeman’s midfield signings this term.

Therefore, if Rooney were to join the ranks, Koeman is likely to cash-in on McCarthy, who has struggled to prove his match fitness in recent seasons.

Aaron Lennon

The former Tottenham winger is likely to be eating heavily into the wage bill at Everton, despite a lack of first-team action.

The 29-year-old has made just 11 Premier League appearances since the start of the season, and has only been named in the starting XI by Koeman on six occasions.

He has remained an unused substitute in the matchday squad on an incredible 10 occasions, and it would come as little surprise to see him offloaded in the summer.

While Rooney is older than Lennon, the winger is not the kind of long-term asset that Everton have lined-up for the future, with youngsters like Ademola Lookman now taking control.

Ross Barkley

Everton should not be selling Barkley at any costs, but his departure may be a price to pay in the bid to land Rooney.

The 23-year-old has been criticised for his inconsistent performances this season, but Barkley has started to win back Koeman’s praise in more recent weeks.

However, speculation over his future at the club is still ongoing, and if offered the right price, Everton could cash-in on him in the summer.

Rooney would likely feature for Everton in a central-attacking midfield role, a position that Barkley has made his own for a number of years; but the fierce competition could limit his game-time, and that could cause frustration and bring back some of the inconsistencies to his game.

It will be interesting to see how the two might operate together in Koeman’s system, but there is that possibility that it could be one or the other.

In other Everton transfer news, Rooney is believed to be willing to consider a return to the club.

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