By Andy Jones
- Could Rooney be the next big name to join the Chinese revolution?
Manchester United recently announced the details of the summer tour to China, with games against Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City at the back end of July.
China has recently seen a huge investment in the domestic league, but where there is still a massive demand for Premier League franchise from its Chinese fan base.
With the emergence of the Chinese superleague as a genuine force in world football, and rumours that a bid for Rooney was tabled in January, there is the feeling amongst United fans that the club should cash in now on a player who despite being captain for both club and country is well past his best.
With few clubs globally able to offer Rooney the kind of wages he would surely command, even in the latter stages of his career, China is a serious option.
The Chinese league only turned professional in 1994, and became the Super League in 2004. Only this year has it really grabbed the headlines, outspending many Premier League clubs in the January window, with over £200m being spent, mainly on overseas players.
Brazilian Alex Teixeira was the highest profile signing, opting to go to China despite interest from Liverpool for a huge £37.5m, joining Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Demba Ba, could Rooney be the stellar signing to really bring the CSL to the top table?
Since being injured on February 13th, Rooney has missed 11 games for United, in that period, they have won six, drawn two and lost three in all competitions. In the Premier League that’s four wins and one defeat, including victories over Arsenal and Manchester City, so he’s hardly been missed.
Its a similar story for the national team, where Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy grabbed the headlines against the world champions in Berlin, and opened the debate as to whether Rooney is no longer first choice for his country.
Surely Hodgson should learnt from previous managers mistakes and pick the players in form, not the big names, but Rooney deserves his place in the squad, that is without question.
At United, a front three of Rashford, Martial and Lingard, have the pace and mobility which United’s captain can no longer offer, its been suggested by some former players and pundits that Rooney’s future could be in midfield, but in the games he has played there, he has shown little to convince the clubs fan base.
So what next for Rooney? still out injured, despite hoping to be back for Uniteds last 10 games, it usually takes him at least 4 to 5 games to get up to speed after an injury, and with the club still chasing Champions league qualification, and potentially an FA cup, its a huge risk to disrupt the team to play him.
The player himself will be desperate to get some game time, with the Euro’s looming, and his last chance surely at a major International tournament. After that, what does the future hold for Wayne Rooney?
Its doubtful he will break Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record this season given the games left, and with the potential of a new manager for the new season, and an underperforming squad in need of a serious overhaul, he is no longer the first name on the team sheet.
Previously, the MLS was the last big pay day for the ageing Premier League star, Gerrard, Lampard, Beckham and Robbie Keane have all made the move, but could China offer something different, if not to Rooney himself, you get the feeling his agent Paul Stretford would have his head turned with the potential of one last big pay day for his client.
Whatever the outcome, Rooney has been a great player for United, but the overall feeling from the fans is that he won’t be remembered as a true legend, and part of me always thinks he didn’t genuinely fulfil his potential from the day he exploded onto to the pitch with a hat trick in his debut in the Champions League.