Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has admitted that the sale of Wayne Rooney would “revitalise” the club’s fortunes.
Kenwright, who has repeatedly denied that the club were interested in cashing in on their most-prized asset, appears to have undergone a change of heart in recent days amid speculation that the18-year-old is poised to reject a new five-year deal offered by Everton.
The England striker has two years left on his Goodison Park contract.
“Wayne’s sale would revitalise the club’s finances – but a five-year contract would also revitalise us,” Kenwright said.
“If we do that, the fact is we’d have kept one of the major stars of world football.”
“David Moyes and I will be personally dealing with Wayne’s future in the next week or so,” he said.
“You cannot allow a player like Wayne to go into the last year of a contract and lose a major asset.”
Rooney has been offered a £50,000-a-week five-year deal to stay at Goodison Park, but following his impressive displays at Euro 2004, he has become a transfer target for several major European clubs, with Manchester United reported to be heading a queue to secure his signature.
“I suppose, going into this next season, we were thinking probably ‘double-your-money, we’ll double what you are on now’,” Kenwright said.
“But (Everton manager) David Moyes said, ‘Look, he’s the best player in the world and I want to support the best player in the world. I’d like him to become my captain and I think we should offer him the highest wage in our history.’.
“And I agreed totally and offered him the £50,000 a week. That is not a joke offer, that is the offer in the contract.”
“He’s got two years left on his contract, and that situation cannot continue forever,” added Kenwright.
“It is a double-edged sword and I know which I want to happen. The facts are that he hasn’t asked for a transfer, and we would like him to stay.”
Kenwright also played reports of a crisis at the club following chief executive Trevor Birch’s resignation last week.
“I don’t know of any power struggle,” said Kenwright.
“It’s absolute nonsense. I am not interested in power and control, all I want is for my club to do well.”
According to reports, Birch quit after Kenwright rejected his advice that Rooney be sold to help clear the club’s debts.