Gary Neville believes Wayne Rooney is likely to stay at Manchester United until at least the end of the season because the Red Devils’ squad would be left short if he left.
United’s record goalscorer and captain has had to settle for a bit-part role under manager Jose Mourinho this season and speculation has mounted that he could make a switch to the lucrative Chinese Super League.
Rooney’s agent is reportedly in China to discuss the possibility of a move before the CSL’s transfer window closes, but it is thought a deal is still some way from being concluded.
And former United skipper Neville says it would be foolish to allow the forward to leave at this time given that Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin were sold last month.
“I would like to think Rooney would stay at Manchester United,” Neville, a former team-mate of Rooney’s at Old Trafford, told Sky Sports.
“It is strange timing – the [English] transfer window is over and yet there is this debate when there is still two months of the season to go. That seems odd. There is still a contribution to be made and many trophies to be played for and won at United.
“I am waiting to see what happens but the timing seems odd when United need their squad. Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay left in January, which means the squad – if they got two or three injuries – would be depleted.
“The fact they are still in the Europa League, playing very important games in the league and the FA Cup, plus obviously a cup final, I would imagine Jose would want his squad in place.
“I can also see the other side of it that if Wayne’s unhappy and does not want to sit on the bench, maybe there would be a move. End of the season, I could maybe see something but why now? I am not sure.”