Not all stories have happy endings but this one just might. Wayne Rooney, who is likely the best player in English history, has returned home. After 13 years in nearby Manchester, Rooney returns to unanimous support by the Everton faithful. Wayne isn’t the 18 year old wonder kid anymore but he still has a huge role to play for Everton on and off the pitch. Even at 31 years of age his name is one of the most recognizable in the football world. His arrival has overshadowed the departure of Romelu Lukaku, whose fee could rise to a record-breaking total. Rooney arrives on a free transfer but could still be the most talked about transfer of the summer. Let’s take a look at Rooney’s time at Everton as well as his relationship with the club.
Wayne Rooney was a special talent from a very early age. For local club Copplehouse boys’ club, Rooney scored 99 goals in a league season. Logically with performances like that he was bound to be scouted. He would be picked up by Everton later that year where he only improved his goal scoring record. For Everton’s 10’s and 11’s team Rooney scored 114 goals in 29 games. Before Rooney had reached 17 years of age he was playing first team football for an Everton team that was doing well in the table but horrible off the field. Everton were in debt and needed money quick. Unfortunately their most valuable asset was the one closest to their heart. When Rooney left for Manchester United, many Everton fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth. His sale was bittersweet as a true Evertonian left the club in order to save it. The money received for Rooney was a world record fee for a teenager.
His time at United was a huge success as he became the club’s – as well as England’s – record goalscorer. His role at the club became limited as he aged though. Over the past few seasons his future looked elsewhere but a return to Everton was not possible as the club could not pay his wages. The future of Everton was changed on February 27 of 2016 however. Farhad Moshiri had sold his shares at Arsenal and decided to reinvest his money at Everton. His purchase also came with an option to become the majority shareholder. Not long after the original purchase Moshiri also used that option. Jump forward to this summer and everything has really started to change.
After years and years of scraping money together to fund transfers, the summer of 2017 has been a completely different story. Everton have made the money rain so far this transfer window. At the point this article was written, Everton have spent the second most money of any club in the world only behind A.C. Milan. Everton have brought in Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Henry Onyekuru, and Sandro Ramírez alongside Rooney so far this window. Despite Everton’s top goalscorer Lukaku leaving, he has become an afterthought thanks to the amount of business Everton have done so far.
Finally, what is Rooney’s role in the new Everton? Rooney has shown he still has it in the tank. In Everton’s most recent friendly, Rooney blasted home the opener from 30 yards. He started the game at striker and was taken off at halftime. Rooney can play up top as well as in midfield. He will most likely play the second striker behind the target man in Ronald Koeman’s preferred two striker system. Even if Rooney doesn’t play well for Everton, his name will more than pay for his wages in shirt sales. The best thing about Rooney’s return however is the sentimental value. His return will mend many broken hearts that witnessed their brightest ever prospect leave the club only 18 years old. Rooney still loves this club saying in his first interview since returning that he ” had been wearing Everton pajamas for the last 13 years”. Wayne has raised his two boys as Everton fans and both are very excited for his return to the Rooney family club. Either way, Rooney’s return has repaired a tear in Evertonian hearts that has been aching for 13 years.
— Everton (@Everton) July 13, 2017