(WFI) A powerful, bulky, blond, blue-eyed, unpredictable and at times irascible, dominating figure in Washington DC? Yes, of course; but now add to that… a distinct English accent.
Wayne Rooney is his full name and according to several reports, the veteran Everton striker is headed to the U.S capital to join the D.C. United.
The 32-year-old Rooney has reportedly reached an agreement in principle to play in the MLS for an estimated $17 million transfer fee. Rooney’s move to D.C. United was first reported by the Washington Post and the BBC.
The ex Manchester United captain still has a contract at Goodison Park until 2019, but apparently his agents have negotiated a new deal with D.C. United that will have Rooney in Washington for the next two seasons until 2020.
The transfer window in the MLS does not open again until July 10, but the deal seems to be already finalized.
His salary, although yet to be disclosed, would certainly make him the highest-paid player in the D.C. organization. Presently he pockets about $10 million at Everton, a modest sum compared to his higher earnings at ManU.
D.C. United has Paul Arriola, a U.S. national team winger, as its sole “designated player” , thus making him the only player in the club who earns above the average wage limitations placed by the MLS on its clubs . Aside from Arriola, United has two more designated-player slots available.
The Washington club is planning to increase spending in anticipation of the new revenue it will receive from its new stadium opening in a couple of months.
Audi Field is close to becoming a reality. The 20,000 capacity soccer stadium should host its first game on July 14.
Initially estimated to cost $300 million, the project has swelled, according to several reports, to about $400 million.
Washington D.C’s contribution to its soccer-only stadium has remained at $150 million for land acquisition and infrastructure. United’s investors are absorbing the other $250 million. The team attributed the rise to additional features inside the stadium ($40 million), redevelopment of the adjacent streets ($30 million) and other unspecified costs.
Audi Stadium awaits the goals of Rooney for a D.C. United club with scoring problems and in search of a world-renowned player. Asked recently whether United needs to upgrade the roster, D.C. coach Ben Olsen said flatly: “Yes.”
Olsen also confirmed the club is aiming to add “some high-end quality. I think that’s what we’re in the market for.”
Rooney has scored 10 goals for Everton in the Premier League this season — but none since mid-December — in his return to the club after spending 13 years with Manchester United.
However he still is the greatest scorer in English national team history with 53 goals in 119 appearances between 2003 and 2016.
Rooney is also the second best striker in the Premier League with a total of 208 goals behind Alan Shearer’s 260.
Talks between Rooney’s representatives and the MLS side accelerated in recent weeks due to the increasing frustration the English superstar has experienced with Everton manager Sam Allardyce. A striker or withdrawn forward most of his career, Rooney has had to play a central midfield role most of this season. With one match remaining, Everton is assured to finish eighth in the 20-team Premier League.
Allardyce recently said that only a “massive” offer from a team in China or MLS would prompt Rooney’s departure.
United has not had a superstar player in its locker room since 2008 when Argentina’s Marcelo Gallardo joined the team for a spell that only lasted one year.
Homepage photo: MLS
By INSIDER Javier Monne
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