By Alex Stevens
Everton are expected to push through a sensational summer deal for Manchester United record scorer Wayne Rooney, according to a report.
The Independent cite sources close to both clubs saying there is a growing expectation that the Merseyside outfit will re-sign their academy product in the next window.
It is said that the transfer is “likely to happen” and that United may even be willing to allow Rooney to leave on a free to seal the deal.
There was speculation on Tuesday that West Ham could attempt to sign the Premier League goal machine this summer as they keep tabs on his situation.
West Ham interested in signing Wayne Rooney if Manchester United allow him to leave this summer. Told “Never say never”
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) March 21, 2017
But the Independent report that Everton are in pole position to land the England and United record scorer ahead of their Premier League rivals.
The cash-rich club, whose ambitions have been intensified following the backing of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, will be able to offer Rooney, 31, a £150,000-a-week contract.
That would mean a drop in salary for the England and United skipper, who has 15 months remaining on his £300,000-a-week Old Trafford contract that makes him one of the highest paid players in the top flight.
Rooney has been marginalised at United by the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer and the emergence of Marcus Rashford.
The striker has scored five goals and provided 10 assists from 30 matches in all competitions this season, but he has netted just twice in the league and has started only one Premier League fixture in three months.
In other Everton news, there is friction at the club between manager Ronald Koeman and director of football Steve Walsh.