Where can Rooney go next?
Where Wayne Rooney wants to go and who actually wants him are not the same thing – despite the England striker’s global profile and 214 career goals, the world is not quite his oyster.
A combination of huge wages, a poor 2012/13 season and over 10 years of wear and tear make him a gamble for potential buyers.
So where will he end up?
Bayern Munich – 5/4
The Bavarians have been installed as short-priced favourites as incoming manager Pep Guardiola looks to spruce up his strikeforce. Rooney would certainly represent a major coup, but with Mario Goetze already signed and Robert Lewandowski likely to follow, is there really room at the Allianz Arena?
Chelsea – 11/4
Although Rafa Benitez has revived Fernando Torres’s form somewhat, Chelsea still look short of a striker. And in Rooney they have a player who can hit the ground running alongside several England team-mates. Chelsea can afford him, too – but would Rooney really want to burn his bridges with the United fans?
Paris Saint-Germain – 4/1
The newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions are emerging as a serious force. And if their Qatari owners want to make a statement, who better than Rooney who is a big deal across La Manche. While we can’t exactly see Rooney speaking French, Paris is only a short hop from home and he might have David Beckham for company.
Real Madrid 20/1
Now we’re starting to get into the long shots. Real showed interest early in Rooney’s career and want to revamp their attack after a poor season for Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain. But it will all depend on the new man in the dugout in the highly likely event of Jose Mourinho’s departure.
Manchester City 25/1
City were hot favourites when Rooney slapped in his first transfer request in 2010 but are among the outsiders now. Although they could do with a forward following Mario Balotelli’s departure, Rooney could hardly expect star billing with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez for company.
It might have made the back page of a tabloid, but this seems a stratospherically unlikely move. Buying massively-hyped Englishmen with thousands of miles on the clock is the precise opposite of Arsene Wenger’s usual policy. So unless the Frenchman leaves the Emirates, this is simply not going to happen.
He doesn’t exactly have the body shape for tiki-taka, but Rooney’s skills could conceivably make him a decent fit at the Camp Nou. Nonetheless, he would stick out like a big white sore thumb in Barca’s team of petite Latin maestros.
They’ve got money and ambition, as seen by the signings of Didier Drogba and Wesley Sneijder. Could they land Rooney? In another couple of years, perhaps, but all the kebabs in Istanbul wouldn’t land him aged 27, when he is supposedly at the peak of his powers.
Manchester United 7/4
It could well be that Rooney, having surveyed all the options, returns home to his trophy cabinet, looks at his five Premier League and one Champions League winners medals, and decides that there are worse things than being a bit less good than Robin van Persie.