LONDON - Wayne Rooney has told Everton he wants to join DC United, with a £12.5million contract now close to being agreed.
As Sportsmail revealed on Wednesday, the former England captain is on the verge of joining the MLS club after his representatives travelled to Washington DC for talks.
Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, was in the US capital to discuss a contract that will run until the end of the 2020 MLS season.
The 32-year-old forward told members of the Goodison Park hierarchy that he was ready to accept an offer that can be officially confirmed when the MLS transfer window opens on July 10.
It is believed Rooney will move to America’s east coast with wife Coleen and their children, having rejected the invitation to make a big-money switch to China after only one season back at his boyhood club.
The family are understood to have been reluctant to relocate to the Far East. The wheels of this move were put in motion almost six weeks ago when Jason Levien, DC United’s chief executive and managing general partner, contacted Stretford to revive the interest the American side first showed last summer.
Levien is also co-owner of Swansea City — fronting a large consortium who took over in July 2016 — but the Welsh club and DC United are treated as entirely separate entities, so Swansea’s potential relegation would have no impact on the Rooney pursuit.
Levien has been searching for a marquee signing this summer to coincide with the opening of DC United’s new Audi Field stadium, which opens on July 14.
The ground will only have a 20,000 capacity but it is state-of-the-art and cost nearly £300million to build, including land acquisition. DC United currently have one of the smallest payrolls in the MLS but will secure increased revenue through the new stadium and therefore have the money to fund the Rooney signing.
Sportsmail understands the club tried to sign Robin van Persie in January, before Rooney’s former United team-mate joined Feyenoord in Holland.
According to reports in America, they have also targeted Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, but Rooney would be the greatest coup and the name with the biggest global pull.
DC United head coach Ben Olsen said the club were trying to add ‘some high-end quality, I think that’s what we’re in the market for’.
Rooney has made his decision after becoming disillusioned with life at Everton under manager Sam Allardyce, who has deployed him predominantly as a midfielder.
He started the season well, scoring seven Premier League goals by November, but has only completed the full 90 minutes under Allardyce on four occasions. He reacted angrily to being substituted before the hour against Liverpool in April.
He scored the last of his 11 goals in December and was recently told by Allardyce that he could try to find a new club if he wished as the Everton manager could not guarantee him games next season.
Key members of Everton’s hierarchy — including chairman Bill Kenwright — would like Rooney to remain on Merseyside but it is believed owner Farhad Moshiri agrees with Allardyce, who is growing increasingly confident of staying on despite fan unrest.
Rooney missed Saturday’s match against Southampton due to a calf problem and it is unclear whether he will return for Sunday’s final Premier League fixture at West Ham.
The Everton dressing room is said to be surprised at the turn of events and some believe the team missed Rooney’s creativity in the 1-1 draw with Southampton.