Wayne Rooney could leave for Man United for China next week
Wayne Rooney has struggled to hold down a regular place in Jose Mourinho's side this season following a combination of poor form and injuries – and he is considering multi-million pound offers from the Chinese Super League.
The transfer window in China does not close until the end of this month and Rooney could decide to cash in and bring the curtain down on his glorious Old Trafford career.
Rooney still has 16 months of his £300,000-a-week deal to run, with the option of an extra 12 months. But Manchester United bosses are reluctant to trigger the extension and are unlikely to stand in the 31-year-old's way should he choose to leave.
Mourinho insists he would never force him out but admits he has no idea if his talisman will still be at United after February 28.
Asked if he could leave next week, Mourinho said: "You have to ask him. Of course, I can't guarantee that. I cannot guarantee that I'm here next week, so how can I guarantee that a player is here next season?
Man United fans discuss struggling skipper Wayne Rooney on Twitter
Tue, February 21, 2017
Express Sport brings you all the best tweets as Manchester United fans discuss Wayne Rooney's future at Old Trafford
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Fans react as Jose Mourinho reveals Wayne Rooney could leave Manchester United
"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 would never push a legend of this club to another destiny.
"You have to ask him if he sees himself staying at 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'll have to ask him, not me. I was very open with you in the answer. I don't want him to leave."
Rooney trained with the United squad yesterday for the first time since suffering a hamstring problem more than a fortnight ago, but didn't travel to France for tonight's Europa League, last 32 return leg with St Etienne.
Rooney has not started a game since the end of last month and scored just five goals this season compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 24.
Jose Mourinho failed to give any guarantees over Rooney's future at Man United
Mourinho admits United have made significant progress without him this season and dropped the strongest hint yet that Rooney is now dispensable.
He added: "He's injured. I cannot do miracles at that level. He is injured and has been for two or three weeks.
"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 in the League Cup.
"The team is in a good moment. We have players in attacking areas and they are playing well. Rooney is injured – simple."
St Etienne have a mountain to climb tonight when United come to town holding a 3-0 lead ahead of the Europa League, last 32 clash.
Romain Hamouma is not looking forward to facing off against in-form Zlatan Ibrahimovic
And star Romain Hamouma admits facing Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a pain in the backside.
United are red hot favourites to go through to the next round thanks to Ibrahimovic's stunning hat-trick in the first leg at Old Trafford last week.
The Swede has scored 24 goals this season to remind the footballing world he is far from finished at the ripe old age of 35.
Ibrahimovic has netted 17 goals in 24 appearances against St Etienne – including three hat-tricks – during his time with both United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Hamouma admits St Etienne are sick and tired of him and would prefer not to have to face him ever again.
He said: 'It's a pain in the a**e to play against Zlatan. But we don't have a choice in the matter, we just have to channel our energies towards it. We have to launch ourselves into the battle without a second thought."