Wayne Rooney hasn't asked to leave Everton amid D.C. United talks - Sam Allardyce
LIVERPOOL, England -- Everton manager Sam Allardyce on Friday confirmed D.C. United have expressed an interest in Wayne Rooney but stressed the forward has not asked to leave.
Rooney will not play in Everton's final game of the season on Sunday because of an injury, sources told ESPN FC later on Friday, after the 32-year-old was spotted leaving Everton's training ground as the rest of the players headed out to begin training,
Multiple reports on Thursday said Rooney had agreed in principle to join the Major League Soccer side for a £12 million fee, though sources told ESPN FC that a deal has yet to be confirmed and the Washington Post, which first reported D.C.'s interest on Tuesday, said the transfer's chances were "50-50."
"My understanding of the situation is that there seems to have been some negotiations somewhere along the line," Allardyce said in a news conference before training on Friday. "But as in terms of the clarity whether Wayne is leaving or staying, I'll find out a little more today when Wayne comes in for training.
"I don't get involved in anything regarding transfers or negotiations. All I know is that there appears to be an interest from D.C. United -- where that is and where that lies and where Wayne lies with it, I can't tell you at the moment. Only after I've spoken him today will I find out where the situation actually lies.
"If any players want to leave, I'm always comfortable with any player who wants to leave or if any player doesn't want to leave.
"But let's put it right, Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave. And neither has Wayne Rooney had a confrontation with me. We've not been in any difficult situations because we're two adults and we talk."
Rooney has made 40 appearances for Everton this season after returning to his boyhood club in the summer from Manchester United.
However, England's all-time leading international goal scorer last found the net for his club on Dec.18, and he was left visibly frustrated when substituted during last month's Merseyside derby.
"How as a manager can you guarantee anybody to play?" Allardyce said. "Because if they don't play well you can't select them and if they do play well then they stay in the team. That's the simple fact of the matter.
"No manager or coach can guarantee a player his place in the side. They get the opportunities and it's up to them to put their game together on a consistent basis -- and those are the ones who play every week."
Rooney missed last week's draw with Southampton because of a minor knee injury, and is also set to sit out Everton's trip to West Ham on Sunday.
If a deal is completed with D.C. United, Rooney would be able to play once MLS' secondary transfer window open on July 10, meaning he could be available four days later for the first game at the club's new stadium, Audi Field.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that D.C. United are prepared to pay Rooney an annual salary of $5-8m (£3.7-5.9m). The higher end of that range would make him the highest-paid player in MLS, according to data released by the MLS Players Association on Thursday.
Rooney's reported salary could also pay him more than all of his teammates combined, as D.C. United has the second-smallest player payroll in MLS at just $6.74m.
But the club could be set to receive an injection of fresh capital, as reports last month said billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong was set to take over D.C. United as its largest stakeholder in an agreement that would value the team at an MLS-record $500 million.
D.C. United coach Ben Olsen confirmed to TMZ on Thursday that the club was eyeing Rooney, saying: "The deal is not done but there is some interest from our end."
Meanwhile, Allardyce was asked about his own future on Friday, with certain sections of Everton's support unhappy with 63-year-old's management since arriving in November.
Allardyce, though, has not been told that he will be departing Goodison Park at the end of the season and claims he has already put plans in place for 2018-19.
"I have a contract. I have a one-year contract," he said. "Until such time when somebody says to me: 'I no longer want you to fulfil that contract' then I have a contract. I've already [planned for next season]. It's planned, it's there."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.