London (AFP) – England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney could be set for a return to Everton, the club where he made his name, according to the British media.
The 31-year-old who flourished at Everton — bursting onto the scene as a teenager and scoring 15 goals in 67 appearances — has become a peripheral figure at Manchester United since Jose Mourinho took over last year.
Rooney, who also lost his place in the England squad, has stated the only other Premier League side he would consider joining is Everton and with apparently interest fading from China either a return to Merseyside or a move to the United States looked to be his best options.
The Daily Mail says Everton are hopeful of ‘thrashing out a deal’ while The Guardian noted that with one year remaining on his contract, United may demand a transfer fee but not a sizeable one for the player who joined the club in 2004 for £27 million (30.7m euros, $35m).
The paper also said the deal would also lighten United’s annual wage bill by £13 million.
Both Rooney and United favour a permanent deal rather than a loan, although Everton may balk at the wages demands, according to the reports.
Rooney is not expected to demand a permanent first team place but is keen to play more often than he did at United where he made just 26 appearances last term.
According to The Times, Rooney’s move to Everton is especially attractive to United as it could be part of a deal to bring Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku in the other direction and steal him from under champions Chelsea’s noses.
Lukaku, who was sold by Mourinho when he was at Chelsea, is thought to have been one of Antonio Conte’s top transfer targets in the close season as they expect Spanish international striker Diego Costa to leave.