Wayne Rooney’s Old Trafford departure appears imminent.
Rumours of Romelu Lukaku snubbing Premier League Champions Chelsea for Manchester United prompted a general acceptance that this deal will also see Rooney finally return to his boyhood club, Everton.
But, the question remains: why do Everton want him?
Rooney has been an incredible servant for United, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal-scoring record and winning everything there was to win at club level. Yet, his decline has been unignorably woeful.
Such a descent into the sluggish, off the pace striker one now associates with Rooney arguably began in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season – there was a reason why he sought Robin van Persie and it was because he know he could not trust Rooney to fire the Red Devils to a 20th Premier League title.
Under a cloud of betrayal – he reportedly handed in two transfer requests and threatened to move to Manchester City and Chelsea – Rooney’s performances continued to slip. He was showing incipient signs of losing his boyish aggression and rampant belligerence.
Past his peak and questions over his aptitude
Under Louis van Gaal and David Moyes his decline simply accelerated.
The choice to hand him the captaincy has always appeared bizarre, but it is even more perplexing when it could have reasonably been argued that Rooney was amongst the worst performers during the torrid three years prior to Jose Mourinho’s arrival.
It is no secret that Rooney does not streamline his lifestyle to peak fitness and we have, for the last five years, began to see the consequences of such disregard. He had the ability to become world-class, but not the aptitude and dedication of the ilk of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
To fast-forward this dialogue, Rooney will – presumably – become an Evertonian once more fairly soon. All Ronald Koeman will be acquiring is a striker well-past his peak and devoid of the quality necessary to lead the ambitions of a side such as Everton.
The Blues have been shrewd in this summer’s transfer market, bringing in exciting talent; this, married with their current squad and the emergence of promising young academy product makes their bid for Rooney even more startling.
Rooney is on a staggering wage at United and will be reluctant to take too much of a wage-cut, so Everton will be forking out a hefty salary for a player who will stagnate their progress and development.
Affording a player such a wage will mean he has to start most matches – in Rooney’s absence Everton could have bought an attacking talent with more exuberance and eagerness to improve. Rooney will simply get in the way of Koeman’s fresh side.
The sentimental appeal is certainly there, but no pragmatic one exists. This is why it is such a perplexing financial decision on Everton’s behalf – if, of course, Rooney does move back to Goodison Park.
Written by Michael Jones
Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97
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