Wayne Rooney's Manchester United exit gathers steam, Mourinho adds to rumours

Wayne Rooney was not fit enough to join his team for their Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne on February 22. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION London, United Kingdom Feb 23, 2017, 09.58 AM (IST)

England captain Wayne Rooney is unlikely to leave Manchester United next week and is surprised by boss José Mourinho’s claim he could do so, The Guardian reported today (February 23).

Rooney, who was still not fit enough to join his team for their Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne yesterday, is determined to see the season out, the Guardian report claimed. The rumours come even as his agent, Paul Stretford, has flown to China to see if he can negotiate a deal for his client to leave United, most likely at the end of the season.

The 31-year-old is unlikely to remain at Old Trafford unless United actively tell him he can depart or there is a lucrative last-minute offer from China’s Super League before its window closes on Tuesday.

There has been speculation that Rooney, who is no longer an integral part of the United side under Mourinho, could eventually leave for the mega-rich Chinese Super League.

Asked if Rooney would leave for the Chinese Super League before the transfer window closes next week, Mourinho had said, "“You have to ask him. Of course I can’t guarantee he will still be here next season. I cannot 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 one day Wayne leaves the club, it is not because I want him to leave the club.

“I would never push a legend of this club to another destiny. You have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or sees himself moving. I was very open with you in the answer. I don’t want him to leave.”

Mourinho’s comment caught the player unawares as he has no wish to move on, The Guardian reported, adding that the skipper is unhappy at his lack of regular starts and unless this situation vastly improves before the season ends he will depart in the summer. 

Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan, Jiangsu Suning and Tianjin Quanjian are said to be among those interested in hiring Rooney.

Meanwhile, asked if he would be fit for Sunday's English Football League Cup final against Southampton, Mourinho was non-committal, AFP reported.

"I don't know. This morning was the first time he trained and didn't even train 100 per cent with the group," the Portuguese boss told reporters at Saint-Etienne's Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

"He is injured, I cannot do miracles at that level," he said. "Rooney is injured, he (has been) injured for two or three weeks.

"When you don't have a player, you have others. The team is in a good moment. In the past few months we've lost only one game and it was one we could lose as it was a two-legged match," added Mourinho.

(WION with inputs from Guardian, AFP)