WASHINGTON, United states - Former England captain Wayne Rooney is in advanced talks to join Major League Soccer (MLS) club D.C. United of from his Premier League club Everton, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The 32-year-old former Manchester United striker has a year remaining on his contract with Everton, but is reportedly frustrated with his role at his boyhood club, where he returned last July.
England's all-time record goalscorer with 53 in 119 caps from 2003 through 2016, has netted 10 times for Everton this season. His haul of 208 Premier League goals rank second only to Alan Shearer.
D.C. United would have to pay a transfer fee or have Rooney negotiate a free move, but either would help them fill their new 20,000-seat home stadium, Audi Field, that is set to debut in mid-July.
The report said talks between the club and Rooney have accelerated in recent weeks, citing an unnamed source that said United had a 50-50 chance of obtaining Rooney during the MLS trade and transfer window that opens July 10.
Rooney rebuffed overtures from the US capital club last year, according to the report, but struggled in front of goal last season and has had similar woes this campaign.
D.C. United finished last in the Eastern Conference last year, scoring a co-MLS-low 31 goals while surrendering 60, losing out on goal-difference to Western Conference doormat Los Angeles Galaxy for the league basement.
This season, United again rank worst in MLS with one win, four losses and two draws and a minus-5 goal difference that ranks one tally worse than Western Conference basement co-dwellers Seattle and San Jose, also on five points. United have won four MLS crowns but none since 2004
Iniesta's final move
Meanwhile, Australian football chiefs plan to contact the agent of Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta to sound him out about a move to the A-League, reports said Wednesday, as the domestic competition looks to recruit a marquee star.
Spain's Sport website named the A-League as the World Cup-winner's "preferred destination" this week, although Japan's Vissel Kobe is also seen as one of his possible next moves.
China's Chongqing Lifan Tuesday denied reports that the 33-year-old legend will be joining them "as a player", but left the door open to future cooperation in some capacity.
Football Federation Australia's website indicated the governing body planned to contact Iniesta's agent after he announced he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season following two decades of phenomenal success.
A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said four Australian clubs have signalled their intent to make use of a recently announced Aus$3 million (US$2.2 million) "marquee fund", which could be used to lure a player of Iniesta's calibre.
"We will determine with (the clubs) how this is going to work - do we go out and use $3 million to go and hook one big fish, or three small ones?" he told reporters.
"There's some history that would say that (Alessandro) Del Piero, when he was here with (Emile) Heskey and Shinji Ono was actually quite amplifying."
The A-League most recently had a centralised "guest marquee" fund in 2016, but it attracted only one player, Tim Cahill, whose stint at Melbourne City did not pull in the crowds and boost TV ratings as hoped.
O'Rourke said if a move for Iniesta was unsuccessful, other targets would be drawn up.