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Rooney to China whispers intensifying

Press Association logoPress Association 23/02/2017

Big-spending Chinese Super League clubs have been widely linked with a move for Wayne Rooney, as speculation over the Manchester United captain's future continues.

A month on from becoming United's all-time top scorer, talk has intensified that the the 31-year-old could leave Old Trafford for pastures new, with the riches on offer in the CSL a tantalising prospect.

With Guangzhou Evergrande, Beijing Guoan, Jiangsu Suning and Tianjin Quanjian said to be among the interested parties, it has been reported that Rooney's agent Paul Stretford is in China to see if he can negotiate a deal for the England captain to leave Old Trafford.

Although it remains unlikely that any move would be completed before the transfer window shuts next week.

Jose Mourinho surprisingly said ahead of the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie in St Etienne that the future was in his skipper's hands.

"You'll have to ask him," the manager said before Wednesday's 1-0 win, that saw United - without Rooney - advance 4-0 on aggregate. "You have to ask him.

"Of course I can't guarantee (he will be here). I can't 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 Wayne one day leaves the club it is not because I want him to leave the club. That's the only thing I can guarantee.

"I would never push - or try to push - a legend of this club to another destiny."

"So you have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or if he sees himself moving.

"It is not a question for me because I am happy to have him."

Pushed on whether it was possible Rooney could leave in the next week, Mourinho retorted: "You have to ask him, not me.

"I was very open with you in the answer. I don't want him to leave."

Rooney's deal at Old Trafford runs until June 2018, with United holding the option to extend it by a further year.

The forward is understood to be considering his options, having fallen down the pecking order under Mourinho.

A return to boyhood club Everton and move to Major League Soccer could be other avenues for Rooney but such destinations are unlikely to offer wages anywhere near that available in China.

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