Wayne Rooney is in talks with Everton about a return to Goodison Park this summer, sources have said.
The Manchester United captain will be allowed to leave Old Trafford after seeing his role in the team reduced under Jose Mourinho last season.
The deal for Rooney to return to his boyhood club hinges on Everton putting together a wage packet close to the £250,000 a week he currently earns, though they are unable to match the full amount. The prospect of a loan deal with the option of a permanent move has been discussed.
The striker still has two years left on the contract extension he signed in 2014 — a deal that also guarantees United’s record goal scorer an ambassadorial role at the club after he retires.
Mourinho said after the Europa League final in May that the 31-year-old is a “very important player” for the club.
It remains likely, though, that Rooney will slip further down the pecking order next season if the team can secure a centre forward and an attacking midfielder before the transfer window closes.
Rooney is still hoping to be part of the England squad for next summer’s World Cup in Russia and has been told by manager Gareth Southgate he must be playing regularly to be considered.
He was set to join the rest of the United squad on the preseason tour of the United States when they leave for Los Angeles on Sunday.
However, he will be allowed to stay in Manchester if an agreement with Everton is close to completion.
Rooney, who left Everton for United as an 18-year-old in 2004, scored eight goals in 39 appearances last season, including one in a 1-1 draw with Stoke in January to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s team scoring record.
He started the season as a regular in Mourinho’s starting XI, but after losing his place in September, he was on the bench for both the EFL Cup final and Europa League final.
His substitute appearance at the end of the 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm was his 559th competitive appearance for United.