D.C. United’s signing of forward Wayne Rooney is nearing fruition, and if the MLS organization is able to finalize a transfer with the English superstar’s Premier League club, he probably would arrive in Washington around July 1, the Insider has learned.
Rooney’s move to United is “very likely” to happen, one person familiar with the negotiations said Friday. He and the team have agreed to contract terms, leaving just the transfer issue.
Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer played this past season for Everton, which, amid a coaching change and roster moves, will not retain Rooney. He has one year left on his contract, necessitating an agreement between Everton and D.C.
Rooney, 32, would not be eligible to play for his new side until the MLS transfer and trade window opens July 10. Barring fitness issues, his debut would come four days later at the grand opening of Audi Field, a 20,000-capacity stadium in Southwest Washington.
In anticipation of a deal, Rooney applied for a U.S. work visa last week in Belfast. D.C. and Everton officials have confirmed they are talking about a deal but have declined further comment. News of United’s pursuit of Rooney first broke on the Insider in early May.
Also, sources close to the MLS team said D.C. is eyeing a South American attacker, age 19 or 20, for a transfer valued at several million dollars. No other details were available. If it happens, the player would be classified as a young designated player and fill the third — and final — available DP slot, joining Rooney and midfielder Paul Arriola. It’s unclear whether this potential acquisition is tied to United’s imminent hiring of a full-time scouting director for South America.
In its final league match before the World Cup break, D.C. (2-6-4) squandered a three-goal halftime lead at reigning champion Toronto FC on Wednesday and settled for a 4-4 draw. It will resume play Wednesday with a U.S. Open Cup round-of-16 game against Orlando City at Maryland SoccerPlex. League competition restarts June 30 at New England.
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