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Wayne Rooney & Everton is destiny: Why fight it?

COMMENT: For Wayne Rooney, the offer's there. It's not in black and white. Well, not yet. But it's there. If he wants to come home, Everton will welcome him with open arms.

They've all been at it in recent weeks. Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, has no doubts: "He is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger," says the Dutchman, "and every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton".

Steve Walsh, the man in charge of transfer policy at Goodison, has gone even further: "If the opportunity arose to bring him back, and it sat well with everyone, I'd drive over myself and get him."

And then there's Farsad Moshiri, the man who controls the purse strings at Everton. He may've been tempted away from his investment in Arsenal, but it's not the Gunners Moshiri pines for. The multi-millionaire is a United fan. And he'd love to see Rooney running around in a Blue shirt next season.

Why fight it? Forget China. Forget the 'States. A return to Goodison - where he's wanted - simply makes sense.

A move to the Far East will be done on his own. Rooney and wife Coleen had already agreed the family wouldn't follow him to China last month. Paul Stretford made the trip, laid the foundations, but in the end the local transfer window closed with Wayne still in Cheshire. Why, when there's such an attractive option up the road, put the family through such upheaval?

The family would relocate to the 'States. But how beneficial was such a move for Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard? Did they really gain anything from it? And at 31, as Ronaldinho says, "Maybe in two or three seasons he can consider it, but not now.

"If his time at Manchester United is up, then it is up, but he will still be an important player for many of the top clubs in England, Italy, Spain, Germany, or France."

Rooney can clearly see the writing's on the wall at United. Juan Mata is now talking about a new contract. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is emerging as the No10 Mino Raiola touted to Jose Mourinho last summer. And even Jesse Lingard is earning selection ahead of the England captain. Publicly Mourinho has branded the Everton rumours "ridiculous", but there's been nothing subtle in his team selection. Rooney, as captain, is not even in the first line of reserves. For no fault of his own, he's been crowded out. It's now left to him to call time on his Old Trafford career.

At Everton, Rooney would arrive representing no threat to the current squad. He could work off Romelu Lukaku in attack. Or drop deeper alongside Ross Barkley in a midfield protected by Idrissa Gueye and his former United teammate, Morgan Schneiderlin.

What's more, the inevitable locker room politics could also be avoided if Phil Jagielka is moved on. The defender's departure would leave the captaincy vacant - just in time for Rooney to inherit.

This would be the deal Moshiri has been screaming out for - literally - since being convinced by chairman Bill Kenwright to pull out of Arsenal. He's made it clear to Walsh how disappointed he was with last summer's market campaign. The impact of Gueye and emergence Ademola Lookman has since afforded the ex-Leicester City man some breathing space. But nothing would assist this year's transfer plans more than to have the current England captain as a selling point to agents.

Moshiri's kept his side of the bargain. Offering club record terms to Romelu Lukaku. Opening talks with Ross Barkley about a new deal. Keeping hold of their two young gems is one thing. Fighting off the attentions of Barcelona in their manager is another. But to welcome back Rooney - as captain - would really mark the beginning of a new era at Goodison Park.

And for Rooney, as Evertonians will no doubt be telling him, playing in front of the Gwladys Street End is no come down. Not these days. Not the state United are still in.

It won't be at Old Trafford, but there's still much for Rooney to achieve. Gary McAllister at Liverpool, Peter Beardsley with Newcastle and Gordon Strachan leading Leeds, they all - late in their careers - inspired transformative eras at their respective clubs.

With Moshiri's money and Koeman's ambition, Everton are capable of anything. Why fight the bleedin' obvious, Wayne?

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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