Rooney to MLS: Is the Option Still on the Table?

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Dec 12, 2017 11:25 AM EST

Under Jose Mourinho, it quickly became obvious that Wayne Rooney's days as a Manchester United player were coming to an end. Rarely used by the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager, England's record scorer was frequently played out of position when he did make the starting XI, and a transfer away from Old Trafford seemed inevitable.

Much speculation followed, and as he started to reach the end of a long-playing career, a switch to MLS soccer was naturally mentioned. Although US Soccer fans may be tired of hearing it, the division can be a perfect home for ageing players and Rooney fitted the bill for many franchises.

Boyhood Club

Ultimately, Wayne Rooney completed a dream move to his boyhood club Everton, and when the transfer was completed at the summer of 2017, he seemed set to see out his career at Goodison. However, a poor start to the season, followed by a change of manager, means that things aren't quite so certain.

The Wayne Rooney transfer market is a quiet one right now, but there are prices and it's easy to see what is available from across the operators. Remember, the player has only been back at Everton for less than a season but there are good reasons for the speculation.

Why Now?

When any new manager arrives at a club it can be an unsettling time for any player so, when Sam Allardyce came in to replace Ronald Koeman in November 2017, the entire playing roster at Goodison would have reasons to question their future.

Included on that list would have been Wayne Rooney, whose previous encounter with Allardyce wasn't entirely positive. When playing for England, the striker had gone on record to state that his new Everton coach, who was in charge of the national side at the time, left him 'battered' and he felt that he was the target of some very unjust criticism.

In response to early rumours, Allardyce has said that Rooney is vital to his plans but in public, he's unlikely to say anything controversial. These are uneasy times at the club but if we can be certain about anything, it's that the new boss will want to make changes to playing personnel and that should happen as soon as the transfer window opens in January.

What Next?

Like all players of his standing, Wayne Rooney doesn't need to kick a soccer ball professionally ever again. Financially, he's completely secure and if the time came for Everton to dispense with his services, he could retire immediately.

However, he's still only 32 and could conceivably play for another three years at the very least and if the relationship with coach Allardyce doesn't work out, there will be plenty of clubs looking to offer a home. And, like his contemporaries David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, interest will undoubtedly come from Major League Soccer.

The issue of veteran players crossing the Atlantic is a contentious one, particularly in the wake of USMNT's failure to qualify for Russia 2018 but for any American soccer fans hoping for a close-up look at Wayne Rooney, that hope may yet be rekindled.

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