The Washington Post
Wayne Rooney tours the area as sides progress on a deal with D.C. United.
Wayne Rooney and D.C. United continue to make progress on a likely deal, The Washington Post has learned, as the English superstar toured Washington and underwent a physical with team doctors Thursday.
Rooney arrived Wednesday from a family vacation in Barbados and visited Audi Field, United’s new home in Southwest D.C. beginning this summer. Accompanied by his agent and adviser, Paul Stretford, Rooney met United General Manager Dave Kasper; resumed talks with Jason Levien, the MLS club’s managing general partner and chief executive; and explored the nation’s capital on a gorgeous spring afternoon.
The whirlwind visit will end with Rooney departing for England on Friday morning. The sides would not reach a final deal by then, one person familiar with the negotiations said, but both hope “to feel good about where things are headed.”
Contract terms are almost complete; The Post reported May 14 that the sides had resolved major issues. Rooney would receive a guaranteed deal through the 2020 season for at least $5 million per season, making him one of the highest-paid players in MLS, multiple people said.
If a pact is finalized, Rooney would not be eligible to play until the MLS transfer and trade window opens July 10, four days before Audi Field’s grand opening.
Team officials have declined to comment on their pursuit of the all-time leading scorer for Manchester United and the English national team.
A big reason for the visit, another person said, was for Rooney, 32, to become comfortable with living and playing in Washington. Although he has traveled the world for club and country since he was 15, Rooney has spent his entire pro career with clubs located in a 34-mile stretch of North West England (Manchester United and Liverpool-based Everton). He is a native of Liverpool.
Rooney and his wife have four children and have begun preliminary house-hunting in Northern Virginia, though Colleen and the kids would continue to spend much of their time in England.
While D.C. officials work with Rooney and Stretford, they also are in regular contact with Everton, which has the player under contract for the 2018-19 Premier League season. D.C. would have to pay a transfer fee, estimated in the multimillions, for Rooney’s rights.