With recent trouble back home in England, Wayne Rooney has announced that he will be leaving D.C. United at the end of the season.
Rooney did bring some memorable moments to D.C. United fans, as well as MLS followers everywhere. It is ending sooner than we thought, with a surprise move to second-tier English football.
He was announced this Tuesday, by Derby County as player-manager in January.
It is thought that the early-than-expected move has several reasons behind it, mostly connected to his wife Coleen’s abrupt return to England. As we explained here, this also caused him to miss a D.C. game against Atlanta last month.
Another reason behind the move is Rooney’s soccer-management aspirations for the future.
Although he is joining Derby County FC as a player, he isn’t denying his ambitions to work side by side with the club’s manager. Gradually becoming involved in the strategic and decision-making aspects of the club.
Following the footsteps of Lampard?
Possibly Rooney is following the footsteps of another football international star and fellow England National Team player: Frank Lampard, who came to America in 2015 to join MLS side NYCFC.
It seems Derby have a thing for making former players into managers, after Frank Lampard took them to a playoff final last year, where he lost to Aston Villa.
He then was ‘promoted’ to his dream job, leading Chelsea’s team from the sidelines from now on. Will Rooney be preparing to be the next Manchester United coach?
Beyond MLS publicity and exposure to soccer fans around the world, Wayne Rooney’s contribution to D.C. United and the MLS on the field was also immense.
In his 43 appearances on D.C’s squad, he managed to score 23 goals and also produce 14 assists.
It did come at a cost though, as the D.C. Captain earned this season a club-record pay of $3.5 million as a base salary. The termination of his contract that was supposed to run through 2021. The earlier move to Derby County FC will not earn United a transfer fee.
It does free up cash to invest in another soccer talent that will hopefully keep the team’s momentum, and also stick with the club for longer. He will be able to play at least this season’s MLS table matches.
A World Cup winner to replace Rooney?
Another big European soccer name that is now coming up with relation to D.C. United is Arsenal’s attacking midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The 30-year-old German national team player was in Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013. From there joined North London’s English Premier Arsenal FC, where he still plays to date.
He also won the World Cup in Brazil, in 2014, with his national side Germany. Coming to the USA would be an opportunity to face former teammate and also World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger during the MLS schedule, who plays for Chicago Fire.
Ozil’s contract with Arsenal still stands until 2021. However, he has struggled to find a prominent place in the squad under new Arsenal manager Unai Emery and is, therefore, considering a move sooner than his contract’s expiry.
It was reported in Washington D.C. and confirmed by Steven Goff of the Washington Post that D.C. United officials are in talks with Ozil’s representatives. They will be exploring the opportunity of bringing Ozil to the MLS during the upcoming January transfer window.