Manchester United Transfer News: Wayne Rooney Summer Sale, Gareth Bale Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United (L) and Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City (R) battle for possession during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 10, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United are reportedly considering the possibility of selling captain Wayne Rooney next summer while lining up Real Madrid's Gareth Bale as his superstar replacement.

Rooney's contract with United runs until 2019, but the 12-year Old Trafford veteran's form has dropped recently, and he has not registered more than 20 goals in a Premier League season since 2011-12, per WhoScored.com.

Per Daniel Cutts in the Sun, a United source has revealed that some people at the club see next summer as their final opportunity to bring in a decent fee for Rooney, 30, and his lack of form has led some to question his £300,000-per-week wages:

Rooney’s recent comments about wanting to extend his contract certainly pricked a few ears. 

There are people inside the club who feel it could be their last and only shot to avoid him staying another year and then entering his final 12 months.

Unless he starts scoring 30 goals a season again, then his huge wages are bringing a sharper focus to his long-term situation.

Cutts added that while Rooney wishes to end his career at Old Trafford, he could have a number of suitors, including former club Everton, MLS outfits LA Galaxy, Orlando City and New York City FC and Chinese Super League clubs.

While he is a longtime servant of United and has been hugely successful at the club—winning five Premier League titles, a Champions League and an FA Cup, among other trophies—he is no longer the main man in the squad.

Rooney is closing in on breaking Sir Bobby Charlton's record as United's most prolific goalscorer, with 246 to Charlton's 249, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the more reliable forward in manager Jose Mourinho's squad.

Meanwhile, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan could arguably be more effective in Rooney's preferred No. 10 role, while Bleacher Report's Sam Tighe believes the ideal United team to get the best out of £89 million man Paul Pogba does not include the captain:

Per Samuel Luckhurst in the Manchester Evening News, Rooney "is no longer essential to United."

As a result, it would make financial sense to get him off the wage bill next summer. His departure would undoubtedly also earn United significant money and absolve Mourinho of a continuing selection headache.

However, while it may be possible to imagine United selling their skipper, the idea they could pull off the signing of Bale to replace him is more far-fetched.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Gareth Bale ((R)) of Real Madrid CF competes for the ball with Marvin Zeegelaar ((L)) of Sporting CP during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Real Madrid CF and Sporting Clube de Portugal at Santiago Bernabe
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

According to the Daily Star's Jack Wilson, the 27-year-old Welshman is United's No. 1 target to replace Rooney in the superstar bracket.

While United have long been linked with Bale, it was recently reported that the Manchester outfit "admitted defeat" in their pursuit of the former Tottenham Hotspur winger, per Luckhurst.

Per Jim Sheridan in the Sun, Bale is set to be offered a new deal at Real that would put him alongside Cristiano Ronaldo as the club's highest earner and potentially include a £500 million release clause.

Bale looks set to supersede Ronaldo as the No. 1 star at the Santiago Bernabeu, and while Real have a history of snapping up other clubs' marquee players, they're not in the business of selling their own.

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