According to The Telegraph, AS Monaco are interested in signing Wayne Rooney from Manchester United next summer.
The Ligue 1 club have been following the England international forward for quite some time and, it has been claimed, they could make a move at the end of the season.
The latest speculation on the future of Rooney begs three key questions.
Why will Wayne Rooney be interested?
That’s the very first question that one should ask. Rooney is already playing for the biggest club in England and one of the most prestigious in the world; he is, in fact, the team captain.
Monaco may be the ‘rising force’ of France, but they have yet to even properly challenge Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. Moving from United to Monaco will certainly be a step down for Rooney, and given his ambition and hunger to succeed it is unlikely that he will be open to this switch
Moreover, playing at Monaco’s Stade Louis II will be vastly different to that of playing at Old Trafford because of the severe lack of spectators at the ground - another factor that could weigh on Rooney's mind.
Can AS Monaco afford Wayne Rooney?
Much has been said about the wealth of Monaco. Bankrolled by billionaire owner Dmitry Rybolovlev, they have indeed signed some big-name players for big money, but that’s in the past.
In the summer transfer window, Monaco sold James Rodriguez to Real Madrid for a reported transfer fee of €80 million, while also letting Radamel Falcao leave for Manchester United on a season-long loan deal.
Yet, the only big-money signing Monaco made in the summer was that of Aymen Abdennour from Toulouse for €13m. This is certainly a sign that the club’s owner is not willing to invest in the team, at least not now.
Signing Rooney from United will not only require Monaco to cough up a significant amount of cash, but also loads of money in wages. Can the Ligue 1 club afford that given how they have gone about their business in the summer?
Should Manchester United let Wayne Rooney go?
Of course, if Monaco do make an audacious bid, then it will be up to United to make a decision. Should they let Rooney leave? He will be 29 in October and pushing 30 at the start of next season – if a big offer comes, would it be wise to cash in on the Englishman?
But given that United manager Louis van Gaal has made Rooney his captain, it is very unlikely that the Red Devils will be willing to sell him next summer even if Monaco do make a move. He is in their long-term plans and recently signed a new contract.