A year after Wayne Rooney left Manchester United to return to his boyhood club, Everton, the former England great is reportedly on the cusp on joining D.C. United in MLS. United will reportedly pay a £12 million transfer fee for Rooney.
The move, a second retirement of sorts, would undoubtedly make the 32-year-old Rooney the highest-paid player on United’s last-place roster. With new revenue streams expected to come in from a new stadium, which will open mid-July, the historically low-budget club has more money to splash around, and seems more than willing to dole out for this aging “striker,” who spent the past year wheezing about the midfield for Everton. (Sky Sports reports that the deal has been in the works for nearly two months.)
The Washington Post reports that D.C. United has also targeted Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, and Mario Balotelli. While a big-name player in their brand-new stadium would help United sell tickets, Rooney’s production has trailed off rapidly and he hasn’t scored for Everton since December. Like every other European star who has come to MLS in order to cut a fat paycheck before retiring for good, Rooney would be an initial draw, but United have to start winning to keep fans coming back.
Rooney is expected to join United on July 10, when the mid-season transfer window opens. Five days later, D.C. United will play their first game at their new stadium. If the deal goes through, Rooney’s last Premier League game will be Sunday at West Ham.