Having seen Didier Drogba join Shanghai Shenhua on a free transfer from Chelsea and Blackburn striker Yakubu linked with a move to the far east, Rooney is next on the list.
A top business expert has revealed that clubs, backed by millions from businessmen, are targeting some of Europe’s top stars in an effort to increase their profile and popularity in football.
They will try to lure big money recruits like the United frontman and Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi with offers that would blow their current pay packets out of the water.
Club owners and investors are desperate for instant success with Drogba’s new club, managed by former teammate Nicholas Anelka, reportedly splashing out £220,000-per-week to make him the highest paid player in the country whilst rivals Guangzho Evergrande want former Italy coach Marcello Lippi.
Professor Simon Chadwick, head of the business strategy faculty at Coventry University, insists they won’t accept ageing players and only have eyes for young superstars who will boost their worldwide appeal.
Should they succeed with the plan of tempting Rooney away from Old Trafford Chadwick foresees it being impossible to stop them from becoming a major force.
“They are not prepared to accept Europe’s cast-offs any more. They want the likes of Rooney, Sergio Aguero and Bastien Schweinsteiger,” he said
“Players like them would be much more significant – and then the floodgates really will open.
“If Chinese football is successful globally, it makes China and its politicians look good. And it gives owners of football clubs political influence,” Chadwick claims.
However it’s unlikely Rooney will be tempted to uproot his family from Manchester and leave the Red Devil’s as he enters the prime years of his career .