Wayne Rooney could leave Man Utd before Chinese transfer window closes

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

Zero Premier League starts since mid-December suggests Wayne Rooney's time as a Manchester United player is fast running out.

Despite being club captain and recently becoming all-time top goalscorer for the Red Devils, the 31-year-old is still struggling for game time under Jose Mourinho.

Rooney's age is clearly starting to catch up with him. Once a nippy and agile striker, he no longer possesses the pace to play in his favoured position.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival last summer certainly hasn't helped his case but even in central attacking midfield he isn't being given many opportunities.

Indeed, 25 games into the 2016/17 season and Rooney has made just eight league starts, with a further nine appearances coming from the bench.

And so, for what isn't the first time in his career, Rooney must start considering his options.

A big-money move to China is what many believe is his best option, with some clubs reportedly offering eye-watering yearly wages of £32 million.

Mourinho insists Rooney will be staying put but, according to the Telegraph, there's a chance the England captain could leave United before the Chinese transfer window closes a week Tuesday.

However, any potential transfer hinges on one factor.

Stoke City v Manchester United - Premier League

The report states that for Mourinho and United to sanction any transfer to China, Rooney must first show some sort of interest in moving to the Far East.

If Rooney is happy to leave, he can; if he wants to stay, that's OK too.

What the United skipper must ultimately decide is whether his emotional attachment to the club is more important than game time.

Rooney is a legend at the Theatre of Dreams having achieved everything there is to possibly achieve at the club, so perhaps it's time to finally leave behind his legacy.

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round

His former teammate, Paul Scholes, thinks that might be the case anyway. He said earlier this week: "If it carries on going the way it is, I can't [see him staying].

"Maybe it will be re-assessed at the end of the season if he's in and out of the team. I don't see him as a player who will accept that. He will want to be at a team where he's playing every week.

"It's a strange one. No one will be more frustrated than Wayne at not playing. Being a sub will be driving him up the wall. When he gets his chance he has to take it because he has real competition.

"It will be killing him just coming in for the Europa League or the FA Cup. But it's up to him to get his head down and prove he can play in the big games."

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