It seems slightly ridiculous to suggest it, given his age, but at 30-years old, there’s a strong feeling when it comes to Wayne Rooney that his best days are long behind him. The former Evertonian is entering his in his third year as captain of Manchester United, but it’s fair to say that he has never experienced as challenging a period as this in his professional career. Twelve years into his Old Trafford career, and he is no longer a pivotal part of United’s attack, the player that everything flows through and a dependable presence who can be called upon when required.
Rooney has started United’s last three games on the bench, and has seen Jose Mourinho’s side produce some commanding attacking football in that time. Even if results haven’t been quite as positive as hoped, there’s no doubt that United have looked a far more competent and complete United without Rooney, and the feeling amongst the club’s fans isn’t a case of if Rooney will leave, it’s when.
At least Rooney has an incredible ability to make money for his club, in much the same way David Beckham does with his brand. Rooney has been front and centre of United’s recent foray into movie tie-in videos, featuring in clips for Deadpool, X-Men and Independence Day this year. He’ll make money wherever he goes.
One destination that is certainly open to him is the Far East, with the Chinese Super League flush with cash and willing to break the bank to bring big talent over to their shores.
Li Jiuquan, marketing director for the Chinese FA had this to say on the player via the Daily Mail:
“Wayne Rooney is huge star in China. Even my young son knows all about Rooney and I have taken a picture of his shirt. If Rooney played in the Chinese super league it would attract huge attention, not only inside China but on television worldwide, and give the CSL huge exposure globally. Maybe only Messi and Ronaldo are more famous.”
It’s somewhat difficult to envision Rooney upping sticks to China with his young family; he and wife Colleen have three sons, and a move to Everton on vastly reduced wages feels more likely. Still, it must be comforting for Rooney to know that at this stage, when it appears that his United career is reaching a crossroads, there are options open for him.