Rooney’s agent in China as speculation mounts over future Man United captain


Wayne Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford is in China as speculation over the Manchester United captain’s future continues.

Momentum is building over the 31-year-old leaving Old Trafford, with the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League a tantalising prospect.

Press Association Sport understands Rooney’s agent Stretford is currently in China, although it remains unlikely that any move would be complete before the transfer window shuts on Tuesday.

Big-spending CSL clubs have been widely linked with a move for United’s all-time top scorer, with Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan, Jiangsu Suning and Tianjin Quanjian said to be among the interested parties.

Rooney missed Wednesday’s Europa League last-32 second leg in Saint-Etienne through injury, but dominated the conversation in France.

United boss Jose Mourinho fuelled rather than extinguished speculation in the pre-match press conference by saying the future was in his captain’s hands – comments that are understood to have surprised the player’s representatives.

“You’ll have to ask him,” Mourinho said. “You have to ask him.

“Of course I can’t guarantee (he will be here). I can’t guarantee that I’m here next week, how can I guarantee that a player is here next season?

“What I can guarantee is that if Wayne one day leaves the club it is not because I want him to leave the club. That’s the only thing I can guarantee.

“I would never push – or try to push – a legend of this club to another destiny.

“So you have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or if he sees himself moving.

“It is not a question for me because I am happy to have him.”

Pushed on whether it was possible Rooney could leave in the next week, Mourinho retorted: “You have to ask him, not me.

“I was very open with you in the answer. I don’t want him to leave.”

Rooney’s deal at Old Trafford runs until next summer, with United holding the option to extend it by a further year.

The forward is understood to be considering his options ahead of the summer, having fallen down the pecking order under Mourinho.

A return to boyhood club Everton and move to Major League Soccer could be other avenues for Rooney, but such destinations are unlikely to offer wages anywhere near that available in China.

However, a switch to China may well bring Rooney’s England career to an abrupt end.

The country’s all-time top scorer has won 119 caps and is closing in on Peter Shilton’s record of 125 appearances.

Rooney has already announced plans to retire from international football after the next year’s World Cup in Russia.

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