The "Wayne Rooney to Arsenal" rumours just won't die. Despite the fact that Arsenal appear to be this close to landing Gonzalo Higuain, or that Arsene Wenger likely would never pay Rooney's inflated wage demands, Rooney and the Gunners continue to be linked this summer.
Gooners shouldn't be expecting his arrival anytime soon. But there is obviously some interest there, as evidenced by shareholder Alisher Usmanov's most recent comments.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could be the ideal signing for Arsenal, according to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the Premier League club's second-biggest shareholder.
"He is a great player, there would be great success for Rooney [if he joined Arsenal], and for Arsenal too," Usmanov told CNBC, speaking from the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Usmanov, who is the richest man in both the U.K. and Russia, owns 29.9 percent of Arsenal and has backed a summer transfer spree in an attempt to revive the club's fortunes. Arsenal has failed to win a trophy since 2005 and manager Arsene Wenger faced heavy criticism last season after key players left the club without strong replacements being found.
If you believe John Cross' latest report for the Mirror—that Real Madrid's Higuain will be heading to Arsenal on a £22 million transfer and £130,000-a-week wages—it's pretty hard to envision the club also adding Rooney this summer.
And frankly, seeing as one of the club's major needs is a lone striker to play atop the formation, Higuain is actually the better fit.
Before you go rampaging in the comments, check out a comparison of the two players from the last five seasons:
Yes, Rooney has more goals and assists. But Higuain is two years younger, is surely a cheaper alternative and has a much better shot-conversion rate, turning 23.7 percent of his shots into goals. Plus, Rooney is best utilized playing in tandem with a second striker, often dropping behind a primary forward.
But what Arsenal really needs is a true poacher in the box, someone who sits atop the formation, finds dangerous areas to run into and turns the service his teammates deliver into goals. And don't be fooled—Higuain is also very capable of holding up play or acting as a facilitator for his teammates.
He's not a one-trick pony, but his main trick is scoring goals. It's a trick the Gunners really need.
Obviously Rooney is an amazing goal-scorer as well, but did it ever seem realistic that he would become a Gunner? Manchester United wouldn't exactly be thrilled selling him to a league rival, and the type of money it would take to land Rooney seems far too lavish for Wenger's tastes, even in a summer when he and the club are expected to spend, spend, spend.
People can talk all they want—Rooney isn't going to be a Gunner. And with Higuain reportedly on the way, Rooney isn't really needed, either.