Wayne Rooney has only just broken the all-time Manchester United goalscoring record, but already he has been linked with a move away from the club with the Chinese Super League his rumoured destination.
The striker sealed his spot in United’s lucrative history when he scored his 250th Manchester United goal – a super last-minute equalising free-kick – against Stoke City on Saturday, but that has not stopped the press from linking Rooney with a big-money move to China.
With Ashley Young also reportedly in the sights of CSL clubs and a whopping £16million net salary on offer for the winger, it would take a historic offer for Rooney to be tempted away from Old Trafford to finish his career in the Far East.
Rooney, 31, could reportedly double his wages – already £300,000 per wekk – with a move to China.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, while not disucssing Rooney specifically, said he woud not stand in any players way if they wanted to move to China, adding that no one should be too judgmental of the players who do decide to move to the growing league.
‘I think the future belongs to him and what he wants in his career. The way he wants to end it, the way he wants to enjoy the last part, that belongs to him,’ Mourinho said, using Zlatan Ibrahimovic as an example.
‘I don’t like to be critical of players who decide to go to China. It’s their life, it’s their career.
‘The money is huge, the experience can also be interesting.
‘I know some of my colleagues think they are more important than they are, and think they can interfere in the lives of other people, but I’m not that sort of guy.
‘Could anyone have been critical of Zlatan if, last summer, he decided to go to China or USA, one guy who has had an amazing career — and it is the same with Wayne.
‘To be honest, in Wayne’s case, I have no idea, because he’s never mentioned it to me.’
Despite his record, Rooney is no longer a guaranteed starter at Manchester United and has been slowly moved away from week-in, week-out first-team duties under Mourinho, however the Portuguese manager believes he still has a role to play for United.
‘I think so. He has more to give us,’ Mourinho said.
‘He’s been a very good captain and person. He is always close to the other players and he has a very good relationship with me and my staff.
‘He is very respectful and I can only have good things to say about him.’
Rooney has not started any of the last five league games but was determined not to leave the club until he had surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton’s record.
The striker, who has 18 months to run on his current £300,000-a-week deal, said: ‘My main priority now is to fight for my place.
‘I have been in and out of the first team and I need to keep trying to perform and score to stay in the side.’