The Year of the Roo-ster!

By on January 29, 2017

The Year of the Rooster is upon us in the official Chinese New Year calendar, but 2017 may be remembered as the year of the Roo-ster for another good reason. Rooster is the animal of the year, but when it comes to a beast in front of goal there can be only one man this week: record-breaker Wayne Rooney. Chinese animal cycles come in twelve years, with Rooney positioned at Manchester United for over twelve years and having reached the landmark 250 strikes for the Old Trafford side. Despite the legendary England forward overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton in terms of goals for the Red Devils with his free-kick finish against Stoke last weekend, the United captain is still linked with a move away from the Salford side. Rooney started in Man Utd’s 4-0 FA Cup fourth round tie victory over Wigan on Sunday afternoon but has not been always starting this season, despite being the experienced captain. German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger bagged his first ever Old Trafford goal in the Wigan win, with the 32-year-old World Cup champion miraculously getting back in the first team fold and now is set to stay for the rest of the 2016/17 campaign.

Roo250: Waynespotting!

He is now 31-years-old and has been rumoured with a big money move to China, where some are reportedly willing to pay the former Everton man £1 million per week. He has nothing left to prove at the Theatre of Dreams and could be starting a new life in China come the summer, if manager Jose Mourinho no longer feels he can contribute at the same level he consistently has been for over a decade. Rooney may want to stay in England as a senior squad player to extend his international career, but one huge retirement plan in the Chinese Super League, while also expanding his world wide brand in Asia, could yet be tempting. Even Rooney would admit he is in the twilight of his career, with a lot of playing miles already acuminated on the clock, but his historic Stoke strike proved quality is permanent.

He has the goals record in the bag for both England and Manchester United – taken from Sir Bobby Charlton on each occasion – while he has lifted every piece of silverware. The United number ten could yet win more with his current side and extend his glorious goal tally, but he has almost left in the past, which was when he still started every big game. The Old Trafford club are going strong on four fronts this campaign, with a EFL Cup final against Southampton to come in February, plus FA Cup, Europa League and Premier League top four still to fight for. But, in football, loyalty can not always be trusted, which brings us onto…

Pay Day Groan!

West Ham United are certainly not happy with their former poster boy, as French midfielder Dimitri Payet finally completed his protracted move back to Marseille today. The Hammers wanted to keep the 29-year-old as ‘an example’, but London Stadium boss Slaven Bilic reluctantly decided to accept an offer of £25million from the Ligue 1 side to maintain dressing room harmony. Payet joined West Ham in the summer of 2015 for £10.7million and now 18 months later is heading back to Marseille for a £15million profit for the East London outfit. Hammers’ owners David Sullivan and David Gold did not want to sell their prized asset this January, but having already brought in a replacement in Robert Snodgrass for £10.2million from Hull during this window, it seemed the only option was to take the £25million from Marseille while the offer was still on the table. Payet had a fantastic first season in the Premier League last year, but this campaign has often looked disinterested in a claret and blue jersey, culminating in his discussion to refuse to play for the Hammers.

West Ham did not need to sell, but Payet was clearly homesick and would be worth less value in six months time, if a French club were even willing to pay for a 30-year-old luxury player come the summer. The Hammers may use the Payet pay day cash to go back in for Brentford striker Scott Hogan, but have picked up form in recent games and have added Jose Fonte from Southampton for £9million and the before mentioned Snodgrass. It seems Payet actually wanted to leave for personal reasons, rather than financial or footballing reasons, with Marseille unlikely to increase his Premier League wages and it being even more unlikely that his new side will challenge the likes of Monaco, PSG and Nice this campaign. If he wanted more money, he could have gone to China or a rival English team, so it was actually about returning his family to France. Mentally, I don’t think Payet returned from the Euros – his head hasn’t been fully in the game since that Portugal defeat.

Homepage photo credit: Дмитрий Голубович [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis can relate almost anything to football and quite often does! You may have seen Richard's previous ideas and work in the BBC Match of the Day Magazine, from 2011 to present. He is a Manchester United and England fan, but has gone to see Leyton Orient play with his O's season ticket in the 2013/14 campaign. Aside from football, Richard has written articles on Doctor Who and studies English Language and Linguistics at the University of Westminster. Aspiring sports journalist.