Several of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Real Madrid and Barcelona, have expressed an interest in signing Wayne Rooney following Tuesday’s announcement that the striker is ready to leave Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that Rooney has turned down a new contract at United, prompting speculation as to where the England striker will move – possibly as early as January.
Barca boss Pep Guardiola told the Sun: “He is one of the greatest players in the world as there are very few players with his qualities. He’s a player I admire very much.”
Real Madrid, who have previously splashed out on United prize assets, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, are another club monitoring Rooney’s situation.
Mourinho told Sky Sports News: “He will stay. He probably wants to leave for some reason but I believe he belongs to Man United, he belongs to Man United fans, he belongs to Old Trafford. I believe he is going to stay.
“But if at the end of the day Man United decide that he is to leave, then give me a call. Everybody will be interested (in signing Rooney). But I like him, I like Sir Alex, I like Man United and I believe the best thing for him is to stay there for life.”
In England, United’s local rivals Manchester City could afford to buy Rooney, while Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich might decide loosen the purse strings to bring the forward to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said earlier in the week: “We have to wait to see if Wayne Rooney really wants to leave Manchester United, if they really want to sell him. And also if Rooney is on the market, not only Chelsea would be interested but a lot of other teams as well.”
Even Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp indicated his interest in signing the former Everton player.
“I’m going to speak to my chairman and see if we can get Rooney to Tottenham,” Redknapp joked ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Inter.
“I doubt very much whether that will happen, but … if he is going to stay in England, who knows? You’ve got to be interested when the very best players become available, but it will be a big ask. There will be some big fish out there wanting to take Rooney. He is a fantastic player, he’s having a bad spell but he is a great player.
“Wayne Rooney will be a free agent and what an amazing situation. He is going to want a decent signing-on fee, he’s not going to be cheap.”