Inside Football: Wayne Rooney Giving Serious Thought to Everton Move
We are heading toward the end of an era at Old Trafford, as Wayne Rooney is seriously thinking about his options for next season.
Offers from Chinese Super League clubs were well-publicised in February, but Rooney was not ready to rush into such a huge decision, particularly with Manchester United still fighting for silverware on three fronts.
A big-money switch to Asia remains an option, but from speaking to contacts close to the situation, it seems the player has reservations about how such a move would affect his family.
It does seem extremely likely that this will be Rooney's last season in a United shirt, but sources are convinced that the possibility to remain in the Premier League would take priority—particularly with Everton.
Rooney likes the idea of being a two-club man, and the prospect of heading back to his boyhood team is believed to be hugely appealing if he can play a significant first-team role.
Everton Want to Know Cost of Rooney Return
Everton have more money to spend this summer and also have huge ambition.
It should come as no surprise that they want their old hero on board for the next stage, and with that in mind, club officials will soon press Rooney's representatives on whether a return to Goodison Park is possible.
Figures of power in the boardroom realise it would most likely mean breaking Everton's pay structure, but I am told they are also keen to measure the player's personal desire and outlook as he enters the final stages of his playing career.
Discussions over a transfer could begin before this season is over—with Manchester United's blessing.
United boss Jose Mourinho has always made sure that he is not viewed as the man who pushes Rooney through the exit door at Old Trafford. He has gradually cut back Rooney's playing time this season and wants to make sure any parting is both amicable and respectful. He has huge respect for his captain but knows he can no longer be seen as a player who inspires United to success.
Everton hope their own project can prove tempting to Rooney. The Toffees want to make a better push for the top six next season and will also prioritise a cup run in hopes of winning silverware.
One matter that I'm told could cause friction is between director of football Steve Walsh and manager Ronald Koeman, who have not always agreed on how to move the club forward.
However, smooth dealing with the Rooney matter is one that both men will realise is in the best interest of Everton.
Everton Look into Summer Deal for Gylfi Sigurdsson
Gylfi Sigurdsson is one of the other top names on Everton's summer shopping list.
Recent signings Morgan Schneiderlin, Ashley Williams and Yannick Bolasie are proof of the club's intent to take on established Premier League players, and I hear they will focus on making a move for Sigurdsson at the end of this season.
It is understood that an offer between £20 million to £25 million could be enough to tempt Swansea City into selling the Iceland international.
He is one of the Premier League's most consistent performers, weighing in with nine goals and 10 assists this season.
He is ready for a move to another big club after failing to make much of an impression during a two-year stay with Tottenham Hotspur between 2012 and 2014.
Everton's fresh focus on playing an exciting brand of football while trying to qualify for European competition could prove tempting.
Man City and Chelsea to Battle for Ben Gibson
Ben Gibson has been a shining light during a disappointing season for Middlesbrough, but his impressive form could come at a price.
A host of clubs have been monitoring his performances, and if Boro suffer relegation, he is likely to leave Teesside.
The starting price for the central defender will be around £15 million, but that figure is expected to rise once there is competition for his signature.
Gibson, 24, could continue his rise, as England manager Gareth Southgate has an eye on him with a view to calling him up to the national team.
Aitor Karanka Fighting on at Boro
Aitor Karanka's position as manager at Middlesbrough is under threat as the club face a huge battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
The 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday left club officials searching for a new man to fill his shoes on the touchline, but Karanka is clinging on for now.
One matter playing a huge role in his continued employment is that the club faces having to give him a huge pay-off. Sources have told me the structuring of his contract means it is difficult to cut ties.
It does not mean Karanka is guaranteed to last the whole season, but he may get longer than expected to turn things around.
West Ham Willing to Sell Carroll
One of the more bizarre decisions behind the scenes in recent times occurred at West Ham United, who recently seemed happy to let Andy Carroll leave the club for China.
Carroll's style of play has almost become unique among Premier League sides and often proves to be one of the team's strongest assets.
However, in February, there was interest from China, and I understand officials from the London Stadium club gave permission for contact to be made over a move.
The three clubs—Tianjin Quanjian, Hebei China Fortune and Shandong Luneng—all failed to secure a deal, but it leaves a question mark over Carroll's long-term future.
Could he become available in the summer?
Andre Gray to Head Away?
It seems increasingly likely that Andre Gray will become available for a summer transfer from Burnley.
He has one year remaining on his deal at Turf Moor, yet talks are not progressing over an extension to his stay.
He has scored eight of their 30 top-flight goals this season, but with his contract ticking down, other clubs are starting to take interest—and the striker is keeping his options open. Southampton and Stoke are among the sides watching the situation.