How Ferguson lured a teenaged Rooney from Everton to Manchester United

Wayne Rooney, who’s on the verge of returning to Everton, is Manchester United‘s all-time top goalscorer.

Unless you’ve been locked away with no access to internet or TV, you’ll probably know that already.

Rooney, who is also England’s record scorer, was signed by United at the age of 18 back in 2004, making him the most expensive teenager in the world at the time.


But the tenacious young Everton striker had turned down United twice while at Goodison Park, once when he was 14, and once when he was 16.

Sir Alex Ferguson talked last season about his time at Old Trafford and his successors at the helm of the club, David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and current boss Jose Mourinho.

He also discussed Rooney, his incredible achievements and United’s relentless pursuit of the young striker.

“When he was 14 years of age, Jim Ryan had flagged him up from the Everton academy and it was something that we paid attention to but he wouldn’t leave their academy at that time,” Ferguson told the BBC.

“When he became 16 we tried again but he still wouldn’t leave. Then when Walter Smith became assistant [at Manchester United] he said ‘You need Rooney, he’s the best young player in the game.’

“And that’s when we started to be serious. We made overtures to Everton, they of course resisted but we kept at it. At the end of the day it came down to a price.

“It was decided when we played Everton at Old Trafford. We had Bill Kenwright, David Moyes, Maurice Watkins, David Gill and myself, thrashing out the deal. Bill Kenwright was on his phone and he hands it [to me] and says ‘it’s my mother, she wants to talk to you.’ She said ‘don’t you dare steal my boy!’

“We thrashed out the deal – £27m, 18 years of age.”

Even if he may have lost a yard or two over the past couple of years, United fans will surely be sad to see the back of him.

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