Wayne Rooney has decided to end his association with Manchester United and move to the lucrative Chinese Super League, according to The Sun.
What’s the story?
The England international’s club future has been a talking point throughout the season due to his failure to hold down a regular starting spot under manager Jose Mourinho.
The forward has started just eight Premier League games out of 22 and has had to settle for a bit-part role at Old Trafford.
The Sun reports that Rooney wanted to finish his career at United, but his lack of game time is a big reason why he is considering staggering offers of £1m-a-week salaries in the Far East.
The newspaper also states that after breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s 249-goal record to become United’s all-time leading scorer, Rooney is ready to walk away from the club where he has spent the last 13 years of his career.
The Chinese Super League seems to be the forward’s likely destination after reportedly not receiving any offers from MLS clubs in the United States.
Would Rooney be making a mistake?
It is understandable for the ex-Everton star to want regular football, but at the age of 31 he is entering the final years of his playing career.
Most players at Rooney’s age can still perform consistently at the top level, but his physical build and early rise (he burst onto the scene at the age of 16) means that he is unlikely to play into his mid-to-late thirties.
The likes of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard played the final years of their careers in the United States, so it would not be a huge shock if Rooney opted to move across the pond.
The problem with signing for a Chinese club, though, is what it could do to the forward’s image and reputation.
Of course, Rooney is already on a ridiculous salary at United, but the widespread feeling when a high-profile player joins a Chinese club is that they are purely going for the money.
As one of the most famous English footballers of his generation, Rooney will want to end his career on a high, so moving to the Far East would not fit that narrative.