Mourinho fails to rule out China move for Wayne Rooney
Manager unable to guarantee if club’s record goalscorer will stay at Manchester United
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho in St-Étienne: he said he doesn’t want Wayne Rooney to leave but cannot guarantee if the striker will be at United at the end of the season. Photograph: Robert Pratta/Reuters
Rooney’s drop in form has caused him to lose his starting place under Mourinho. The 31-year-old is United’s record goalscorer yet has been considering his future, with a move to the Chinese Super League an option.
The market there does not close until the end of the month. Asked if Rooney would still be a United player then, Mourinho said: “You have to ask him. Of course I can’t guarantee he will still be here next season.
“I cannot guarantee that I’m here next week, how can I guarantee that a player is here next season? What I can guarantee is that, if one day Wayne leaves the club, it is not because I want him to leave the club.
‘I don’t want him to leave’
“I would never push a legend of this club to another destiny. You have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or sees himself moving.
“It is not a question for me because I am happy to have him. You have to ask him, not me. I was very open with you in the answer. I don’t want him to leave.”
If Rooney was to leave this month it would close a 13-year United career in which the striker has won every domestic honour plus the Champions League.
His contract ends in summer 2018 and the club have an option to extend it by a year. That eventuality appears remote, with Mourinho stating before Wednesday’s Europa League last-32 second leg at St-Étienne that his side have played better without Rooney in it.
“When you don’t have a player, you have others. The team is in a good moment. In the past four months we lost only one game and we lost a game we could lose because it’s a two-legged match for the League Cup [against Hull]. We have players in attacking areas and they are playing well.”
Rooney has not travelled to France as he is not match-fit after a hamstring injury. United hold a 3-0 lead from the first leg at Old Trafford last week.
Luke Shaw has also been left out of the squad raising more questions about the left-back’s Old Trafford future.
Phil Jones misses the match through injury and Ander Herrera serves a one-match suspension.
Meanwhile, Anthony Martial, whose agent previously spoke of a loan move for the French forward, has moved to clarify his future. “What I want is to stay at this club for as long as possible,” said the 21-year-old. – (Guardian service)