Everton tried to sign Wayne Rooney in January transfer window

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Wayne Rooney may have shunned a move to China to remain at Old Trafford for the time being, but during the transfer window there was apparently another tempting offer on the table for him.

According to a report in the Daily Mirror, Rooney's boyhood club Everton were keen on taking him back to Goodison Park in the new year, and even made a formal approach to sign him.

However, the offer was rejected by Manchester United, who clearly weren't prepared to allow him to join another Premier League side half way through the season.

Rooney left the Toffees for United in a deal worth £27million back in 2004, and since then he's gone on to become the Red Devils' all time highest goalscorer.

And though the offer was rejected at the time, the report also states that Everton boss Ronald Koeman may opt to try and prize him away again over the summer.

The 31-year-old has been in and out of the side this season as he has struggled with injury and a loss of form, but with question marks still hanging over the future of Romelu Lukaku, Koeman will be in the hunt for a new spearhead for his attack.

Koeman was recently asked if he felt Rooney was still a major force in the English top flight, saying: “Yeah I think Wayne Rooney is still on that high level to compete in a competition like the Premier League.

“Everybody knows if you make a choice like China it is not about football on a high level anymore - the first reason is about money. You are not really involved in European football.

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“China is a totally different level of football, so then you say goodbye to the highest competition.”

Rooney hit 17 goals in 77 appearances for Everton during his two seasons there, and if given the chance to return, it would surely represent a better option than a risky move to China.

However, the player's agent, Paul Stretford, travelled to the far east twice this week for talks, and there is still an opportunity for him to pocket some £600,000-per-week, so Everton's gambit had better be a good one.

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