In Focus: Everton close in on deal for Man United star; he can salvage England career

According to reports in The Independent on Wednesday, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is expected to rejoin boyhood club Everton this summer in what could be a free transfer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, the 31-year-old is set to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season with his first team opportunities becoming less and less frequent under Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.

Rooney – who is thought to want to keep his chances of playing for England at the 2018 World Cup alive – was linked with a move to Chinese Super League during the January transfer window, but a transfer failed to materialise.

Now Everton – whom he left for United in 2004 – want to bring the forward back to Goodison Park.

Why is Rooney keen on the move?

Not only would a return to his first club be an emotional one, but it would also allow him to stay in the north-west.

In addition, it would mean that he can prolong his Premier League career, and he may feel it is important that he continues to play at a high level to convince Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate that he can still make a big impact at international level.

Why would he cost nothing?

Well, apparently United are ready to waive any transfer fee because of the brilliant servant that Rooney has been over the last 13 years, while the player himself is ready to half his £300,000 wages to make the move to Merseyside.

Where would he fit in at Everton?

Of course, that will depend on the futures of Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley but Rooney would probably get assurances from Ronald Koeman that he would be a regular starter if he did move.

With Lukaku and Barkley the undobuted first choices in their positions – striker and attacking midfielder – under Koeman right now, it does make it difficult to see where Rooney would fit in if the duo stay at Goodison Park this summer.

While he has played in a deeper role for Manchester United and England in recent times, the 31-year-old will surely still feel that he can play an influential role as a striker or forward.