England captain Wayne Rooney is a transfer target for MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC.
Tom Penn, the chairman of the side that will begin life in Major League Soccer in 2018, has revealed that England’s record goalscorer is at the top of their list of targets, as they look to make a splash when entering the league in 18 months time.
Rooney, 31, is no longer a first-team regular at Manchester United.
He has started just one of United’s last six Premier League matches, with Jose Mourinho seemingly preparing for life at Old Trafford without the club captain.
Los Angeles are keen to recruit a “global star” ahead of their entry into MLS, and know they must sign at least one designated player with worldwide appeal if they’re to compete with with big-spending rivals LA Galaxy.
Rooney’s £300,000-a-week deal at United mean that unless he agrees to a staggering wage drop, he would need to fill one of the club’s three DP spots – players paid outside of the league’s salary cap.
And Penn revealed on Monday that Rooney – who misses England’s friendly with Spain on Tuesday night – leads a list of 10 potential signings, also including Cesc Fabregas and Luka Modric.
Penn told ESPN: “We wouldn’t discuss specific players but we have spoken generally about the desire for a player of global stature.
“[But] Wayne Rooney is an example of the calibre of player we are looking to bring to LA FC.
“We are still 18 months away from our first MLS game, so we will see if players of Rooney’s status and reputation are interested.
“LA FC is a club with the ambition to match its surroundings, so it is important for us to attract players with a global reputation.
“He is one of 10 names we are looking at, but we are a long way from signing anybody up right now.”
The club’s executive vice-president, John Thorrington, added: “We are interested in a player or players who are passionate about becoming the first LAFC legend.
“The player our fans and organisation point to in a five to 10 years as a player who played a major role in growing LAFC to be the global brand we aspire to become.
“I knew there would be interest but I have been surprised at the level of player and coach who have already expressed interest in joining our amazing project.”