Wayne Rooney set to become the highest-paid player in the Premier League as Manchester United look to secure striker's future
A mammoth £300,000-a-week deal is reportedly close to completion and Rooney is also being mooted as a potential captain when Nemanja Vidic leaves
Manchester United are close to reaching an agreement with striker Wayne Rooney that would see him put pen-to-paper on a four-and-a-half year deal worth an incredible £70m.
United are keen to keep the England striker out of the hands of Premier League rivals Chelsea following their intense interest during last summer that saw the Blues have two offers rejected. Although a deal has not been signed, it is sufficiently close to being complete that the club no longer fear a breakdown in negotiations or a U-turn on Rooney’s behalf.
Rooney publicly fell out with former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last season, with the Scot choosing to drop the England international from his squad. With Ferguson retiring, Rooney unhappy and Chelsea interested, all bets were on a move to Stamford Bridge only for David Moyes succeeding in his attempt to persuade Rooney that his future lie at Old Trafford, though they are yet to confirm whether the deal will be a four or five-and-a-half year offer.
Under his current deal, Rooney is contracted to the club until the end of next summer, which has led to the reigning Premier League champions moving swiftly to try and tie down one of their prized assets. I has widely been reported that Rooney will be offered a staggering £300,000-a-week in a deal that will see him become the highest paid player in the Premier League, and puts him on a par with the likes of Gareth Bale and Lionel Messi – although Cristiano Ronaldo would still be ahead of him on his mammoth £78m contract he signed last summer.
To coincide with a possible new contract, Rooney is also in the running to take over the United captaincy at the end of the season, when current skipper Nemanja Vidic departs for pastures new after he confirmed he will leave the club when his deal expires. With Patrice Evra also expected to leave along with Rio Ferdinand – though the pair are yet to confirm their plans for the future – Rooney will be one of few candidates who could take on the captain’s armband, with his strike partner Robin van Persie and midfielder Michael Carrick also in the running.
The proposed contract would secure Rooney until he is nearly 33, meaning that he will have spent over 14 years at the club since his 2004 transfer from Everton providing he isn’t lured elsewhere. It would give the club a greater security when it comes to transfer offers for the 28-year-old too, given that he will be in the final 12 months of his contract this summer and could be available for a smaller fee than has been touted in the past.
Perhaps a sign of what could be an appointment in the not too distant future is the fact that Rooney has been informed of the club’s transfer plans and how they intend on returning to the top of the Premier League.
Speaking after the £37.1m acquisition of Juan Mata, Rooney said: “It’s exciting. Juan has come in and it’s another world-class player to have in the squad.
“It’ll take time – it can always take a little bit of time for every player to gel and to bond but we really hope we can all start scoring goals and help the team be successful.
“We’ve got a lot of massive games in the Champions League and the league. We’re all looking forward to them.”
United face relegation battlers Crystal Palace this weekend as they have a rare midweek off given their Champions League last-16 first leg with Olympiakos takes place next week. Given that they are already out of the FA Cup, the squad will not have played competitively for two weeks when they take to the Selhurst Park pitch on Saturday evening.
Given the squad could be a little rusty going into the match, Rooney is not concerned by the lack of playing time and actually feels the break could prove beneficial towards their attempt at hunting down fourth-placed Liverpool, who sit 11 points ahead of their long-time adversaries.
“We have a bit of a break before our next game now and hopefully we can prepare well and kick on for the big matches coming up,” Rooney claimed, ahead of the first of three straight away matches. “It’s nice to spend time together. When you’re at home you go to training then you go home and see your families, but with trips like this you’re training then spending time with the lads.”
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