Wayne Rooney set to stay at Manchester United for £300k a week
Wayne Rooney is close to committing his future to Manchester United with a four-and-half-year deal that will make him the Premier League's leading earner on £300,000 a week.
The England striker is with the United squad in Dubai on a training break. The deal is not yet signed but is sufficiently close to being agreed that the club have no fears of any further breakdown in talks.
It marks a successful turnaround by manager David Moyes and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward from the situation they inherited in the summer when Rooney's relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, and the club in general, was in ruins and he would happily have moved to Chelsea.
There would have been no prospect of Rooney staying if Ferguson had remained as manager.
Moyes and Woodward have worked hard to change Rooney's attitude with the player kept fully abreast of their plans for the future and transfer targets.
He could even be a contender to captain the team when Nemanja Vidic and, in all likelihood, Patrice Evra leave in the summer. His current deal takes him to the end of next season.
The new contract would take him almost up to his 33rd birthday and be worth a staggering £70m in wages alone.
Rooney still has 18 months of his current contract – signed in 2010 and worth around £250,000 a week – to run.
But after turning down two bids from Chelsea, Moyes was desperate to retain the services of the player originally signed for £25.6m from Everton in 2004. Despite the likelihood that United could miss out on next season's Champions League, Rooney has welcomed the decision to break the club's transfer record last month for Juan Mata from Chelsea.
"It's exciting. Juan has come in and it's another world-class player to have in the squad," he said.
"It'll take time – it can always take a little bit of time for every player to gel and to bond but we really hope we can all start scoring goals and help the team be successful."
"We've got a lot of massive games in the Champions League and the league. We're all looking forward to them."
United face a trip to relegation battlers Crystal Palace on Saturday before travelling to Olympiakos for the Champions League last-16 first leg next week.
They are currently 11 points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the Premier League table, who they will face at Old Trafford on March 16 – nine days before meeting neighbours Manchester City at home.
The FA Cup third-round defeat to Swansea has left a rare gap in the United calendar and Rooney admitted it could prove to be vastly beneficial as they approach the business end of the season.
"We have a bit of a break before our next game now and hopefully we can prepare well and kick on for the big matches coming up," he said.
"It's nice to spend time together. When you're at home you go to training then you go home and see your families, but with trips like this you're training then spending time with the lads."