Manchester United is ready to make sure that their superstar, but often controversial striker Wayne Rooney will remain at Old Trafford at least until the end of the 2019 season — but the assurance will not come cheap. According to sources who talked to England’s Guardian newspaper, Manchester United is prepared to shell out £300,000 per week — that’s more than half-a-million dollars in U.S. cash — to keep Rooney scoring goals for the Red Devils.
As a symbolic sweetener to the deal — as if $500,000 per week needed sweetening — Manchester United is prepared to hand the captain’s armband to Wayne Rooney when the current season comes to a close.
Current Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic is expected to leave the still-reigning Barclays Premier League champions after the current campaign closes out.
The total value of the reported Wayne Rooney contract comes to about £70 million, or nearly $117 million. In other words, over the term of the four-and-half-year deal, Manchester United would pay Wayne Rooney about $26 million per year.
In terms of salary alone, that makes Wayne Rooney the highest-paid player in world football, topping both Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo at $23 million and Lionel Messi of Barcelona at $20.3 million.
The salary would rank Wayne Rooney just behind NBA star Kobe Bryant, who makes over $27 million per year in salary.
Of course, off of these top athletes usually double their salaries with endorsement income — sometimes more than double.
While Rooney’s credentials as a goal-scorer are not in doubt and the new pact would insure that, barring a serious injury, Wayne Rooney will easily surpass Sir Bobby Charlton as the most prolific scorer in the history of Manchester United, Rooney will still have a significant hurdle to leap with the club’s fans over his new mega-contract.
A large segment of Manchester United supporters are still angry at Rooney for his threat to walk away from the 20-time English champions in 2010 — then again in the summer of last year, when Rooney appeared ready to take a transfer to rival Chelsea. The West London club owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich made repeated attempts to wrest Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United before the current season began.
One critic of the reportedly imminent deal, Nick Miller of Football 365, calls the whopping contract offer “nothing short of ludicrous,” noting that Rooney’s record of 11 goals in 25 Manchester United games this season, while respectable, hardly puts him on par with the best players in the world.