It is no secret that for some years now, Wayne Rooney has experienced a rather drastic deterioration as a footballer. Manchester United fans have grown increasingly tired of his lacklustre performances – particularly during the Louis van Gaal era when it appeared his inclusion in the starting line-up were based purely on name rather than merit.
Because of his stature as a club legend, however, it leaves fans with a sour taste in their mouth when suggesting that the 31 year old no longer has a future at Old Trafford. But with a record of just 8 goals in all competitions last season, there is clear substance to that argument.
The newspapers and the punters suggest one of two outcomes for Rooney this summer: A multi-million pound move to China (5/2) or, most likely, a return to boyhood club Everton (11/25). That being said, a shock Old Trafford stay could be on the cards - Rooney could still be a United player when the transfer window slams shut.
First and foremost, his experience and leadership could prove vital for the upcoming season. With Mourinho’s men back into the Champions League for the first time in several years, his European and domestic experience will only be beneficial to one of the club’s least experienced squads. Rooney being in the squad not only ensures that Jose can rotate his starting eleven week-in week-out but it also means a valuable presence in the dressing room for some of United’s younger players.
Secondly, the Englishman’s greatest attribute on the pitch these days is his work ethic. Despite his decrease in passing and goal scoring ability, Rooney will put a shift in anytime and anywhere he is needed. This is a vital attribute that Mourinho will no doubt consider when evaluating any potential offers from other clubs.
Finally, he will inevitably add a few goals throughout the course of a season. It’s another attribute that United are desperate for when approaching the new season, with fan favourite Zlatan Ibrahimović leaving the club at the end of last season. Who knows – he may rediscover some form in front of goal this season. I mean, he is the club’s all-time top goal scorer.
So what if he doesn’t stay at Old Trafford? It appears the most sensible suggestion is that Wayne Rooney will see himself playing in a blue shirt next season. Once a red, always a blue huh?
In all seriousness, there is substantial belief amongst the experts that England’s all-time top scorer will be making a return to his boyhood club for the 2017/18 season. With Everton receiving significant financial backing from their owners this summer, the possibility of a return does not seem so far-fetched.
According to some sources, it is ‘almost inevitable’ that the United captain will be returning to Goodison Park this summer. Having been knocked down the pecking order by Jose Mourinho this season it would make sense if Rooney would seek a move from the club he has spent the last 13 seasons at.
Weighing everything up, it appears that, whether Mourinho wants to keep Wayne Rooney at Manchester United for one more season or not, his future lies on where he wants to play next season. A lucrative offer from China would be tempting, as would a return to boyhood club Everton, but an Old Trafford stay looks the safest option.