Sven-Goran Eriksson has been quizzed about whether he’d be interested in taking Wayne Rooney to China – and the former England boss has delivered a firm rebuttal.
The former England boss – now in charge of Shanghai SIPG – was linked with a move for Rooney, who has found himself strugling for form and regular game time at Manchester United this season.
Rooney, whose odds on leaving the club before the end of 2017 have been drastically cut, has been linked with moves to the USA and China, while Ronald Koeman – at Rooney’s first club Everton – appears open to the prospect of bringing the player back to Merseyside.
While a move to the mega money on offer in the Chinese Super League remains a possibility, it seems unlikely the player will team up with Eriksson at Shanghai SIPG going by Eriksson’s reaction.
Eriksson, who gave Rooney, 31, his Three Lions debut, insists he has “zero” chance of teaming up with him.
He told The Sun: “Everyone knows how much I admire Rooney. That’s one thing. To make out we are going to sign him is something else. There is absolutely nothing in it, zero.
“It is not something we have ever even spoken about at the club – and we have been discussing our options for next season a lot.”
Eriksson, 68, added: “I have always known Rooney as a forward — one of the best I have worked with.
“But we already have Hulk, Elkeson and Dario Conca, who are all very good, as our forwards.”
Yet Eriksson remains a big Rooney fan and feels he has several more seasons at the top level.
The Swede added: “He is still a very good player with a lot of quality.
“I’m sure he could come to China in the future. He is the type of player the league will be after.”
Rooney branded ‘old and past it’
The news is another blow for Rooney – after ex-LA Galaxy chief Alexi Lalas warned the MLS club off him, saying he would not provide value for money.
“They got little return on the Steven Gerrard investment and does Rooney still have much to give and something which works in the MLS, even if he is five years younger than Gerrard,” Lalas told The Sun.
“Are you replacing a player who had limited involvement and limited impact, with yet another player who will have limited involvement and limited impact?
“If Rooney, at 31, doesn’t still have the things which made him great, then it’s problematic.
“Living in Beverly Hills is great. But if you don’t couple it with performances on the field then you are just stealing money.
“The player he is now isn’t the player of ten years ago – but then no one is.”
One possibility that remains open to Rooney is a return to Everton and Koeman admitted he’d welcome the chance to work with the player when questioned about it last week.
The striker scored 17 goals in 77 games as a teenager before leaving Goodison Park, but Koeman believes a return could come to fruition.
“He is a great player and he still hasn’t finished his career,” said the Dutchman. “I don’t know his situation. I need to respect that.
“If there is a possibility of Rooney at Everton, I would be very pleased.”