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Rooney rejects move to China

By Angus McNeice in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-02-24 02:34

Wayne Rooney said on Thursday that he has no plans to leave Manchester United, despite reports that his agent Paul Stretford had traveled to China to discuss his future with Chinese Super League clubs.

Rooney rejects move to China

Wayne Rooney is seen in this file photo.  [Photo/Agencies]

The Manchester United and England player told the UK's Press Association: "Despite the interest which has been shown from other clubs, for which I'm grateful, I want to end recent speculation and say that I am staying at Man United. I hope I'll play a full part in helping the team in its fight for success on four fronts. It's an exciting time at the club and I want to remain a part of it."

The statement brings to an end months of speculation about Rooney's future. He has started just three of the club's 12 fixtures this year, leading several Chinese clubs to believe he might be tempted by an offer.

Jose Mourinho, Manchester United's manager, has also been circumspect about Rooney's future. In January, he said he would not stand in Rooney's way if he wanted to leave.

On Tuesday, Mourinho maintained that position.

"You have to ask him. Of course, I can't guarantee (he will stay)," he said at a news conference on Tuesday. "What I can guarantee is that if, one day, Wayne leaves the club, it is not because I want him to leave the club. I would never push a legend of this club to another destiny."

Media reports claimed a move to China could see the 31-year-old England international more than double his current 300,000 pound ($374,000) weekly wage and earn 32 million pounds ($40 million) annually.

Both Beijing Sinobo Guoan and Guangzhou Evergrande have been linked with England's all-time top scorer, while on Wednesday, Tianjin Quanjian manager Fabio Cannavaro confirmed the club had made an approach for the player, but it was rejected.

Beijing Sinobo Guoan attempted to lure Rooney to China before. In November, the club's honorary chairman Luo Ning confirmed team representatives had met with Rooney's agent in the summer of 2016.

"We indeed made anapproach for Rooney at the beginning of the season but he's informed us that he wants to stay in Manchester United," Luo Ning told Beijing broadcaster Sports Night Talks. "Rooney says he'll keep playing in the Premier League as long as his health allows. We even met with his agent."

A growing number of high-profile soccer players have opted to play in China. In January, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez moved to Shanghai Shenhua, where he earns a reported 615,000 pounds a week ($766,000), while Shanghai SIPG bought Brazil star Oscar in a 60 million pound ($74.7 million) transfer.

Following these large deals, a spokesperson for China's General Administration of Sport said the governing sports body was considering a cap on spending to stop clubs "burning money" to entice elite players to the CSL.

Conal Urquhart in London contributed to this story.

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